Nick Ostoff

12.16.12 — 01.26.13

In the off space, Nick Ostoff is featured in Tracing, a solo exhibition of new paintings. In his work, Ostoff focuses on quotidian elements found in everyday life; through the process of painting, he transforms that overlooked and familiar visual phenomena in order to suggest absence. The work uses tracing as a metaphor for a practice arrived at through visual selection, editing and transcription, rather than pictorial invention. Each painting re-presents a fragment of an activated surface found within the quotidian sphere, ranging from textile patterns on household objects, to spray-painted marks on city streets, to cast shadows, to the incidental paint stains formed through studio activity. Often, the visual information is located on the margins of the picture plane, leaving a blank and voided center. The resulting paintings become traces of other traces, in which each brushstroke functions in a double register: ostensibly signifying the immediacy of the painterly process, while pointing to an original found mark—a referent that is already a temporally-distant trace. Ultimately, his aim is to use the vernacular of abstraction to suggest absence, loss and his own doubts about the primacy of authorial gestures.

Nick Ostoff was born in Los Gatos, California and spent much of his life in Toronto; he currently lives and works in Chicago. He received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1999 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012, where he also won the George and Ann Segal Graduate Fellowship. He has received numerous grants and fellowships and his work has been reviewed in such Canadian periodicals as the Globe and Mail and Canadian Art Magazine. His work was recently included in group shows at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery (The Question of Their Content) and Adds Donna (duck/rabbit). Nick Ostoff is represented in Toronto by Diaz Contemporary; Tracing is his first solo exhibition in Chicago.

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