Nickova Behling specialises in painting and collaborative, interdisciplinary, performance art. Her style is influenced by German Abstract Expressionism and Informal Painting.
Nickova Behling uses a variety of media including acrylic paint, ink, and natural pigments such as sand, soil, coffee grain and ashes. She experiments with both form and materials, creating invigorated paintings with strong colours, significant surface activity and texture. There is a strong sense of exploration and play in Nickova's work, yet it entices contemplation through multiple layers and ambiguities of the in-between spaces.
Nickova works in projects, series of multiple works, exploring one specific subject. The work is abstract and informal, expressing ideas, memories and emotions - a dialogue between the inner self and the experience of the outer world.
Nickova's approach is playful, intuitive and expressive in terms of the use of materials and process. She does not always work in the studio, for example when working collaboratively or on artist's residencies, when a particular place for the creation of work might be necessary. This can lead to the artwork resonating with its location. (See 'Colebrooke Chronicles Memory Traces')
Nickova Behling studied 'Malerei' ('Painting') with artist Sabine Franek-Koch whilst at the HdK Berlin (Hochschule der Kuenste, Berlin) Germany. Fascinated by the use of pigments, the pure essence of colour and texture, Nickova developed her expressive, sensual and tactile style. In her 'Berlin-Years' she moved from expressionist figure and landscape to a more involved, personally engaged expression of existence and place, using an association or trace of a space and reconciliation through texture and colour. This is explicit in the project 'Wasserlandschaften' ('Waterlandscapes') and the 'American Paintings'. Her work is a reflection on personal feelings such as longing and yearning as well as emotions of personal incapability and the invigorating relationship with nature.
Nickova also works with the subject of 'Identity', exploring the image of 'Self', by working with photographs, Polaroid film, and sketchbooks. Previous sketches and photographs are re-discovered and then manipulated, with digital media, to create new work. The practice is part of a continuing exploration of identity, and the search for meaning through life's journey within the creative process.
After meeting the sound artist and musician Eugene McCloskey, Nickova expanded her artistic outlet to include sound collaboration and cabaret work (Nickova's Secret). The artists entered a mutually creative, enriching relationship, developing projects such as 'The Song-Picture-Performance' and 'Following Shanks Pony'.
Nickova Behling's work emphasises the spontaneous act of creativity, and the non-rational, intuitive depth and flow of inspiration. It avoids over-intellectualising and being self conscious whilst allowing the un-preoccupied freedom of artistic creativity to flourish. The process of creating is as important as what comes out of it.
Within Nickova's work and approach there is some resemblance to artists such as Emile Nolde, Franz Mark, Fred Thieler, Hans Hartung, Emil Schumacher, Helen Frankenthaler, Zao Wou-ki, Howard Hodgkin, Anselm Kiefer, and more contemporary artists like Peter Doig, Cecily Brown, and Jessica Warboys.
Nickova Behling is the creative founder of Artahead, which delivers a variety of projects enabling people with disabilities to express themselves through visual art. Projects are based at various locations in Southeast England and are expanding to develop relationships in Europe and overseas. Nickova is experienced in curating art exhibitions, managing large-scale projects and teams of people.