Aug 7th 2020

Frederick Nitsch

@ Oliva Gallery

3816 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago IL 60647

Opening Friday, August 7th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Monday, September 7th

Join us for the solo exhibition of Frederick Nitsch on Friday August 7th 5-8 PM. Masks required. Chairs will be set up outside for social distancing and we will live stream the event.

There will be an interactive component in-person and online! Frederick will not be providing titles for any of his pieces; instead, he is asking you to title them – literal or abstract, funny or serious, one word or much more. For online participants, a secret page on his website will appear on Aug. 7th:


Frederick has a BA in philosophy (Boston University, 2006) and pursued graduate study of the same at Loyola University before leaving his combined MA/PhD program for mental health reasons in 2011. He now works part-time for a mental health nonprofit, doing outreach and education at high schools around Chicago and assisting with trainings for the city’s first responders. Frederick lives and paints in Rogers Park, where he has been for 13 years. Frederick is also an active member of Chicago’s improv comedy community.


I have always been fascinated by Rorschach Tests. Not that I believe they hold some literal truth-telling power about their interpreters, but rather because they provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon ourselves and occasionally reorient us toward or around reference points that we forgot we had within us. Accordingly, I was thrilled early in my painting career when I was told that one of my paintings reminded somebody of a colorful Rorschach Test. I suppose it was the lack of delineated shapes, and the way I made my colors blur in a way that could be ultimately suggestive but never singularly deciphered.

Inspired by this response, I decided to pursue the painting technique that had led me to that piece. In this show are purely abstract pieces, the titles of which I have removed. Both in person and online (a secret page on my website will appear on August. 7th), I am asking viewers of this show to take the Rorschach Test and provide their own titles to my paintings – titles that can be short or long, literal or abstract, silly or serious. I enjoy that my abstract paintings have led to both fun and poetic responses over the years, and I thought that this would be a neat way to do an interactive show during these strange times.

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