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Nicolas Party creates four story mural, "Trees" for stairwell at Marciano Art Foundation
Nicolas Party, Trees, 2019. Courtesy Marciano Art Foundation. Photography © Charles White –

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Marciano Art Foundation is presenting Trees, a site-specific mural by New York-based Swiss artist Nicolas Party on view throughout the four story stairwell of MAF. Commissioned by Marciano Art Foundation, Party creates a fantastical forest scene that grows upwards as visitors climb the stairwell floor by floor. The viewer’s movement becomes integral to the work—as guests move from the dense bushes and roots on the ground floor to the lush treetops on the third floor, they become active participants guided through a colorful, imagined dreamscape.

Nicolas Party is known for his work across a wide range of different mediums, including sculptures, pastels, installations, prints, drawings, and especially his bold and colorful paintings and murals. His use of common, everyday objects and motifs in his work provides him the subject matter to investigate the nature of painting itself, and capture commonly known objects through uncanny and original ways. The artist often uses the medium of painting and murals to question the perception of the built environment, especially those spaces intended for the viewing and reception of art such as galleries and institutions.

As a classically trained painter, Party has an ongoing fascination about the history of painting in terms of both its technical and stylistic developments. With references to the expressionistic landscapes of Claude Monet, the naïve surrealism of Henri Rousseau’s jungles, and the still-lifes of Giorgio Morandi, Party’s artwork invites viewers to enter an alternative reality of color and form. He paints familiar motifs such as birds, pitchers, insects and trees, always drawing from his imagination, and referencing these elements’ ubiquity throughout Western art history as repeated motifs in his own work.

The tree is an object of special interest for the artist, and Party speaks of its significance in his work, “A tree is something that you never will get bored of looking at or thinking about. There is something incredibly rich about these very familiar subjects that have been used throughout the history of representation.” Intended for long-term view at Marciano Art Foundation, Trees echoes the murals and mosaics for the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple designed by its architect Millard Sheets in 1961, particularly the mural of a forest moonscape on view at the MAF Bookstore on the ground floor. In referencing these naturalistic landscapes from the building’s past, Party imbues his work with the kind of universality and lifespan associated with the trees that now ascend throughout the MAF stairwell.

Nicolas Party (born 1980 in Lausanne, Switzerland) completed a BA in Fine Art at the Lausanne School of Art before undertaking an MA at The Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 2009. Party’s solo exhibitions include Arches, M WOODS, Beijing (20182019); Magritte Parti, Magritte Museum, Brussels (2018); Nicolas Party: Speakers, Modern Art, Oxford (2017); Sunrise, Sunset, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2017); Nicolas Party in the Garden Room, Palazzo Antinori, Florence (2016); Hammer Projects: Nicolas Party, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); Pathway, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (2016); Cimaise, CAN: Centre d’art Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel (2016); Boys and Pastel, Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2015). He lives and works in Brussels and New York.

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