Lions and Tigers and Nick: Nick Sider

May 20 – August 18, 2022


Nick Sider’s paintings of lions, tigers and large-scale self-portraits are depicted in an astonishing hyper-realistic manner. Three of the NYC-based artist’s works make their debut in the Zillman Art Museum’s exhibition Lions and Tigers and Nick. While the level of detail achieved by Sider is remarkable in itself, his use of acrylic—a medium that is quick to dry and often considered as inflexible and unforgiving—further attests to the artist’s skillful and unique process of layering paint. Lions and tigers have long been principal subjects for his work and he continues to be enthralled with portraying the majestic nature and spirit of these large cats. Up-close portraits of a lion and tiger, both created in 2022, reveal the intense stare and striking features of these powerful creatures.  

A focal point of the exhibition is two large-scale self-portraits that depict the artist in 2016 and 2022. Primal Self, 2016 captures Sider, who is a self-taught artist, during a particularly difficult time. He was finding his way as a painter, navigating the challenges of creating art while living in NYC and ultimately feeling “beaten up by the art world.” The recently completed self-portrait Tamed Self, 2022 documents a newfound contentment. This work reflects a more confident and grounded version of the artist, having achieved a degree of commercial success, notoriety, and a fully formed artistic practice. Identifying physical changes in the six-year span between these self-portraits is a subtly nuanced exercise. The artist admits that he contemplated the process of aging while creating the recent self-portrait. The passage of time is evident through several physical features—a slightly fuller face and more noticeable wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. By executing the self-portraits in the same large size and format, Sider has created the opportunity for comparison and close inspection for ZAM viewers. 


Nick sider self portrait with blue hat        Large painting of a tiger

Left: NICK SIDER (Canadian, born 1988). Primal Self, 2016. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

Right: NICK SIDER (Canadian, born 1988). Viridian Fixation, 2022. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.


Press Release for Nick Sider can be found here: NICK SIDER_PressRelease