University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Paul M. Nicholson, MFA 2004 | Permission Structures

June 11, 2018  by: Mark Snyder

Permission StructuresRE:find Gallery on the Walk Presents:
Paul M. Nicholson
Permission Structures

26 North Sixth Street, Suite 110, on the Arts Walk
Allentown PA 18101

Exhibition June 1–July 1
Public Reception 6–8 p.m., June 8

Downtown Allentown’s Third Thursday, 5–8 p.m., June 21


ALLENTOWN, PA—Four new works by multidisciplinary artist Paul M. Nicholson, Permission Structures, are on view June 1st–July 1st at RE:find Gallery on the Walk in Allentown. The show will feature a public reception 6–8 p.m., Friday, June 8, with remarks by the artist.

Interactive sculpture, video, and other projects by area artist Nicholson combine issues from the news cycle with popular culture to engage the audience in a dynamic multi-sensory installation.

People often think of art as a refuge from the thorny world of politics, but this couldn’t be further from the truth in this provocative exhibition. “Everything we do as artists is political, from the explicit content of the work to the public act and commercial enterprise of exhibiting in a gallery,” says Nicholson. While some art claims to be about communicating truth and beauty, Nicholson feels compelled to explore some of today’s pricklier problems with candor, craftsmanship and, occasionally, dark humor.

“Artists aren’t immune from the effects of our news saturated environment,” he says. “In fact, I find it completely overwhelming at times. With these works, I hope to slow things down a bit in order to look a little more closely at how we think about difficult issues. I’m fascinated by how our beliefs are shaped by objects and cultural artifacts, as much as they are by arguments, proposals, and endorsements by people we trust.”

Nicholson’s process involves making altered cultural artifacts, for this exhibition , works explore immigration, heroism, medicine and belief structures. Everyday objects and installations employ small but significant changes that reveal contradictions in deeply held convictions. In doing this the artist hopes to ask questions about moral and ethical frameworks. Nicholson believes much of “capital A – Art” occurs when an artist makes some small discovery and wants to think it through more completely. The artwork that comes out of Nicholson’s process is evidence of thinking through difficult issues. “Making, thinking, and even dreaming with a critical lens are about the most democratic things we can do,“ he says.

Nicholson, b. Suva Fiji, 1977, lives and works in the Lehigh Valley where he is Director of Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Previously he was the Director of Botanic Gallery in Brooklyn, and worked at Parsons School of Design in New York. Nicholson earned his MFA from the University at Buffalo, his M.S. from Buffalo State College, and his BFA from SUNY Fredonia.

Permission Structuresdocumentation can be seen at the artist’s website:

Also now on view: Identity Spectrum, at the Susquehanna Art Museum, Friday May 4 through Sunday August 5, 2018.

Family Matters: Paul M. NicholsonFamily Matters: Paul M. Nicholson, Oil on Canvas, 2016, 46″ x 38″  

Susquehanna Art Museum presents Identity Spectrum, an exhibition in the Lobby Gallery and Vault galleries. As one of the fundamental aspects of personal identity, gender has been examined by artists throughout history. Society is experiencing the increased politicization of identity expression while contemporary boundaries and norms are constantly shifting. Works selected for this exhibition provide unique perspectives on individual expression and the definition of gender, both visually and conceptually. 

Identity Spectrum is curated by Dr. Christine Fillipone, Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Design at Millersville University, specializing in contemporary and 20th century art.


202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
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