Nathaniel Kiwi is an Australian artist whose work speaks in the visual vernacular of popular culture and the consumerist traditions of his youth. While he incorporates this iconography and ephemera for its own resonance and value, he also uses it as a device for metaphor and allegory.
Kiwi credits the formation of his visual aesthetic to advertising, cartoons and film from his childhood, especially Steven Spielberg’s style of science fiction and adventure that became the archetype of the modern blockbuster. It’s with the same freedom of imagination and playful energy that Kiwi invents and composes the world of his paintings.
Nathaniel Kiwi’s recent paintings explore themes of fertility, metamorphosis and transformation through collaged landscapes inhabited by animal masks and floral motifs. Kiwi uses contemporary and vintage resource material to create a unique world that is at once modern and nostalgic. Inflatable palm trees sprout through jungles inspired by vintage botanical illustrations as plastic animal masks journey through lands based on exotic 18th century scenic wallpapers. In contrast, his formal compositions are contemporary studies of masks as symbolic objects, albeit endowed with the importance of mounted trophy heads. The masks are multipurpose: they’re fantastical antagonists who invite and challenge; the symbolic embodiment of our own animal instincts and qualities; the skins we’ve shed and those we’re yet to inhabit; but most simply, playful devices through which we might transform or transcend. Kiwi creates a sense of occasion within these works but frees us to define, or not define, the context - inviting you to ‘Choose your own adventure’.
Nathaniel Kiwi is a Sydney Based artist and has been a finalist in the Blake Prize, The Eutick Memorial Art Prize, The Black Swan Portrait Prize and The Mortimore Prize. His work is held in the Artbank Collection and private collections throughout Australia.