Nick Ostoff’s work explores the ways in which quotidian space is transformed through memory, absence, the mechanics of photographic representation, and the process of painting.
For the past few years, Ostoff has been focusing on spaces within the urban landscape. He is particularly interested in certain elements within these spaces – such as parking lots, subway platforms, sidewalks and high-rise buildings – that are so ubiquitous, so embedded within the complex fabric of contemporary urban life, that they have become almost imperceptible. Working from his own photographic source material allows his to highlight these overlooked elements, while removing the chaos of the surrounding context through framing and cropping. And subsequently, through the act of painting, he is able to diminish the spatial and temporal specificity of the photographic source.
With his recent work, Ostoff continues to explore these spaces, yet with a decisive shift in methodology and process. By reducing tonal gradations, removing almost all details, altering colour, and cropping the imagery to such a degree that any distinctions between foreground, middle-ground and background are eliminated, these works are ushered away from the conventions of straightforward representation. Instead, they are placed on the cusp of reductivist abstraction.
Ostoff’s aim with these works is to elliptically evoke space with a minimal amount of pictorial information, thereby creating a more open-ended viewing experience. By largely relinquishing the demands of straightforward representation, he is free to focus on the more rudimentary aspects of the painting process, such as formal arrangements, brush strokes and surface treatments.