Burn your Boat on Heaven’s Shore


Annarumma Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of work by American artist Nick Theobald in Italy.

BURN YOUR BOAT ON HEAVEN’S SHORE (April 16 - May 25, 2016) explores the notion of eradicating the option of retreat in order to move forward, a strategy employed by rulers such as Alexander the Great and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés to lead their armies into victory. Theobald’s work in this exhibition hinges upon this “point of no return”, framing it as a desirable rather than hypothetical action.

Raised primarily in Singapore, Theobald is influenced by Eastern philosophies. Using beeswax as a primary medium, Theobald parallels the human existence with the same selfless servitude as bee colonies. Vertical and horizontal drips of beeswax actualize the rhythm of mantras, sacred vocals that aid meditation through repetition. Beeswax also embalms his rust paintings and linen
I was always free, 2016. Beeswax, linen, steel, 24kt gold, jute rope on wood panel. sculptures, purifying their surfaces with a golden desire for immortality.

Works such as 01-6-015 (2015) shed the strict symmetry and pictorial symbolism of traditional mandalas, yet similarly create a meditative aid to envision the universe. Fractal shapes dissolve into finer clouds of star clusters in deep space, their movement somehow simultaneously chaotic yet still. The occasional bubble of air effervesces into smaller globules, vibrating with an energy that offers an entry point and point of focus. In traditional mandalas, these spaces would be filled with deities. Upon fixation, one can envision him or herself as a microcosm of the galaxy.

When Arthur Danto agreed with Georg Hegel’s notion that contemporary art was no longer subservient to the hidden motives of religious authority, departing symbolic relationships in favor of becoming a free instrument of the artist, they did not address the instances where the artist might pursue his own individual desire to connect with a higher order. Unlike their predictions, Theobald returns the spirit to its thralldom by exploring how the human condition can advance through self-restraint and separation from the past.


Nick Theobald (b. 1986) was born in Los Angeles, raised throughout Asia, and is currently living and working in New York. Having been exposed to different religions such as Christianity and Buddhism during his childhood, Theobald’s exploration of themes of desire, gratification, loss, and the cyclical aspects of nature is influenced by his pluralistic experience. His work seeks a karmic balance through the use of natural materials such as beeswax and linen. Theobald’s work has shown in New York, Los Angeles, London (UK), and Aarhus (Denmark).

The full press release was translated into Italian by Annaruma Gallery here.
Visit the artist's website here.