"Cave Painting," which brings together works by twenty-seven artists, evolved as a result of Nickas's research for his book, painting abstraction, to be published in September by Phaidon Press. He initiated the project with months of studio visits in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Berlin. Most of the artists in the exhibition are also included in the book, which aims to open up a wider sense of how abstract painting can be understood.
The title, "Cave Painting," is a direct reference to the beginning of picture-making, painting, and representation; in the exhibition there are abstract and figurative works, as well as paintings that exist in a hybridized in-between state, and, despite what the title suggests, what might be identified as "primitive" imagery is neither privileged nor denied. Expressionistic works are seen alongside those that are formally reserved; hand-painted pictures are shown in counterpoint to those that have their basis in mechanical procedures; the range of works accounts for both predetermined result and pure chance.
Over the course of the show, a collaborative work by Richard Hoeck and John Miller, a small child mannequin, will move each day to a different position in the gallery to look at and further animate the paintings.