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Nicholson said: ‘I judge paintings by the quality of light given off ... In my own work, it is my only way of judging its achievement or progress.’ For Nicholson, this light revealed ‘the reality underlying appearances’. Here his use of light on monochrome surfaces, together with the clean, sharply-defined lines and the interplay of depth and surface areas, declare his engagement with the international abstract movement. For Nicholson, the compositional harmony of this relief provided an aesthetic model for a possible social harmony.

February 2010