Sophie Gannon Gallery is pleased to present CUT! by Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, the first Australian solo exhibition by the Dutch-born, Melbourne-based artist.

Using simplified forms and bold silhouettes, Jordy constructs minimalist compositions that hum with vitality and humour, rendering them in a full colour wheel of vivid and pastel hues.

The 19 oils on linen in this suite of work depict an array of objects, plants and animals. Notable for their pared-back pictorial design, some incorporate stripes and circles while others display repeating motifs such as white swans and a crescent moon.

Exploiting the tension between abstraction and representation – between the shock of the ‘nieuw’ and the familiarity of recognition – many of these paintings would seem to relate to the show’s action-word title.

Scissors, of course, cut. So do fencing foils. A large sausage has been cut into slices, in a tasty painting that also features round slices of salami falling like confetti. So far so good.

An electric vehicle? It cuts emissions. A bicycle? Ditto. A pair of dance shoes? Presumably their owner uses them to cut the rug. But what about the large painting of a leaping horse and a submarine meeting mid-air?

As it turns out, Jordy came up with the exhibition title after the paintings were finished, and he had a different kind of ‘Cut!’ in mind.

“Looking at everything I’d made, I began to think of myself as a director, and all the paintings as actors – and what does a director say?”

Speaking of films, Submarine-Horse was inspired by the rom-com classic Notting Hill, a background favourite for Jordy when he’s working in his studio.

“There is a line of dialogue between Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts that includes mention of a horse and a submarine,” he reveals.

“I had made some drawings of show-jumping horses leaping over colourful poles, and after hearing that line, something about the horse’s bum got me thinking about the shape of a submarine.”

In an even larger painting, Swan Lake, four white swans and an orange kayak with paddle battle it out for canvas space against a field of coloured rectangles.

Happy to play along, Jordy notes “a kayak cuts through water”, before adding: “I was working on the composition, with the ‘X’ of the kayak and its paddle, and I needed to fill up the empty space. All of a sudden, I thought of four white swans. And who doesn’t love a white swan?”

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, Jordy has held solo shows in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, London and New York. He relocated to Melbourne in 2020.

– Tony Magnusson, 2023