Nick Mauss lives and works in Berlin and New York. He was exhibited in the 2012 Whitney Biennale. He graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He often collaborates and co-curates exhibitions with his partner Ken Okiishi. He also teaches, recently serving as a guest-professor in the department of Painting and Drawing at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg.
Nick Mauss is a multi-disciplinary artist who makes drawings, paintings, sculpture and performance art. Throughout his practice, drawing offers a form of guidance to him and to his audience. It is a uniting thread and viewers of Mauss’ work observe draughtsmanship at what often appears to be various stages of completeness. Figures made out in graphite are often visible but their entire form is often fragmented. As Mauss has mentioned “Drawing is the underlying process for what I do, and in its variety, allows me to work in forms that fall between categories”. Drawing as a process allows for reflection, contemplation and carefully considered movements. It is also a way for Mauss to transpose designs and character sketches into both books and individual works on canvas or paper. The movement of pencil reveals and conceals across surfaces including glazed ceramics and aluminum leaf panels.
Many substances come together on the artist’s paper surfaces: ink, watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, gouache and charcoal. But with this intense accumulation one also notices the use of blank space that prompts us to consider where the next element of the drawing or painting might present itself. It also creates an airy and atmospheric presence were the viewer is encouraged to fill in the gaps. Mauss’s work is a calculated confusion where definitive shapes and forms are overlooked in favour of ambiguous semblances.
Mauss’ drawing and painting on glazed ceramics provides him with a certain unpredictability. This is because the firing process employed by the artist is ‘blind’– it does not allow for clearly selected/predefined colours. Such ceramics allow room for interpretation, comparable to his works on paper in that they appear to be in the process becoming rather than fully finished. Recently the artist has also been creating with silkscreened images on the surfaces of wrought aluminum plates. They bear times enlarged drawings or archival snap-shots over sculptural forms that could be compared to crumpled sheets of paper.