Regina Nieke's bold, impassioned paintings present what appears to be a radical yet empathetic take on metamorphosing beings frozen within the ‘confines’ of the painted surface. Playing upon the conventions of the solitary figure as a radical, empathetic, or metamorphosing being, Nieke's figures hover between stasis or movement, but what becomes evident is Nieke's love of the painterly gesture. Sumptuous masses of paint suggest bodies merging into the background, or at times what might appear as the suggestion of a face is reduced to an unidentifiable thickened masses of paint.
In this regard, portraits of amorphous human-like shapes are reduced to grotesque masses, yet handled simplistic grace and technical mastery, or simultaneous beauty and horror.
But Nieke is quite aware of a greater historical – and painterly – context within which she hails; her works and titles candidly reference her German influences, such as Caspar David Friedrich (A Monk At the Sea, 1810), and various works of Arnold Böcklin, to name a few.
Her other references are bold and marked, here one sees nods to Bacon, Guston, even Degas and most recently: Doig.
For Nieke, the canvas is a platform to destroy and renew.
Kurt Beers, 2013