About Nikolette Jakovac

Selected Exhibitions

Nikolette Says

In Print


About The Artist

Nikolette Jakovac is a painter and printmaker. A strong attachment to the natural world is a thread that runs through all her work. Her paintings speak of colour and atmosphere yet she feels an equal affinity for the world of black and white, the simple line and shape.

She is drawn to the work of Bonnard, Van Gogh, Charles Burchfield. An original member of the Toronto's Open Studio, her etchings were widely exhibited in joint exhibitions. The power and simplicity of the woodcut medium is strongly represented in her work, from "The Puckett Farm" series to "The Mr. Donut Blues."

Nikolette has a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and her work is in many private collections including the Royal Bank of Canada. Her prints were included in juried shows -- Philadelphia Print Club and others -- and in Open Studio international shows.


Selected Exhibits

"Landscape, the Lasting Inspiration" Praxis Gallery, hon. Mention 2007
"4 Artists" Laurier Gallery, 2003
"Beautifully Different" Two person show at Laurier Gallery, 2002
"Two Artists" Blackwood Gallery, Erindale College, University of Toronto 1997
"Trees" Solo show at The Latcham Gallery, Stouffville 1996
"Looking Out/Looking In" Two person show at Del Bello Gallery, Toronto 1993
"Monoprints and Pastels" Solo show at Meramec College at St. Louis 1981
"Two Artists" Zacks Gallery, York University 1986
Solo Show Zacks Gallery, York University 1985

Selected Group & Juried Shows at:

The Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris
Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant,
Burlington Gallery,
The Station Gallery, Whitby
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto
Zacks Gallery, Stong College, York University
Praxis Gallery
Philadelphia Print Club
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Art Gallery of Peel
Museum Rudnik-Takovo, Yugoslavia
Meramec College, St. Louis, Missouri


Landscape Oil

Every summer I go to the park just as if I were a visiting artist doing my first painting there. I don't know in advance if I'll draw, or use gouache or oil. Sometimes I'll use all of the materials one after another. It's wonderful just to be there and my part in that wonder is to find my "work". Hah! Once I've started in a spot the rhythm develops and I keep working in that spot, returning at the same time every day until I have done as much as I could on the picture. Photographs are useless for this kind of work. They are another kind of eye. I can take wonderful photographs in the park but I can't take a photograph of a tree or scene I am painting that would help me finish my painting in the studio. The paintings are usually completed on the spot. I guess there are different levels of 'success' in the paintings that come out. I don't think of that very much. But every year I find there is more to see than ever and I feel that I can do more too. (An artist's delusion!)


I painted flowers to give me a little of that sensation I have when painting outside -- the flowers are more fragile and they die as I paint. That also comes into the painting. As the flowers wither and droop in places, the nerves are more revealed.  


I like woodcut for its simplicity, the warmth of cutting into wood and burnishing the back of the page with a wooden spoon. There's no turning back and many surprises along the way to a print. I have made a turn into printmaking several times along the way and know I'll do more.

The Mr. Donut Blues

The Mr. Donut Blues is a portfolio of 11 prints made during the year after I had heard the Goldenrod Jazz Band play the song by trumpet player and band member Brian Casserly on the riverfront in St. Louis, Missouri.

I had heard the song only once and it took my breath away. Every phrase went to my heart. I wanted to do a print based on the Mr. Donut Blues. Back in Toronto, I leafed through my drawings of the band. It also happens that I spend a lot of time in donut shops. I telephoned St. Louis several times to ask Brian for the words to the song.

"It changes every time we play it."

"It isn't finished."

"I can't remember the words unless I'm playing."

Each time I called I got another verse or another version of a verse, so I was working on the woodcuts, not "a print." I didn't know how many prints I would need to make the story complete.

The song is something special. It's funny and full of images. Friends joked that my hours in donut shops had had a purpose after all. Now there are eleven prints in "The Mr. Donut Blues" portfolio and I see the melancholy in the song, but I didn't think about it as I worked. 


Show at The Samuel J. Zacks Gallery

By Merlin Homer

Nikolette Jakovac's woodcuts of landscape and domestic interior are warm evocations of their subject matter as well as expressions of steadiness and craft. They are personal works, conveying a comfortable affection for every aspect of Jakovac's environment, including such domestic details as particular chairs, tables, houseplants and Jakovac's cat, Henry.

But although Jakovac's vision is gentle, this gentleness is fed by a seemingly inexhaustible wellspring of deep emotion and passionate connection to her environment. In the landscapes, for instance, the trees emerge as individual beings that have the beauty of living souls with their own histories. Yet the patience and steadiness implicit in Jakovac's woodcutting craft move the viewer towards an almost physical ability to comfortably embrace these landscapes.

This intimate quality might by suspected to derive from Jakovac's ability to meditate unwaveringly on the theme and her artistic response through a process that sometimes involves ten separate wood blocks for the completed effect. In order to provide more understanding of this process a stage-by-stage presentation of one print, "Room for Everything," is included in this exhibition.

Nikolette Jakovac has been a professional painter and printmaker for 22 years. Her first solo show of paintings and woodcuts was held at the Cheekwood Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee in 1970. From 1970-76 she was an important figure at Toronto's major art printmaking centre, the Open Studio. Her work has been exhibited in numerous Toronto locations as well as at Mt. Allison University in New Brunswick, the Glenbow Alberta Institute, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, The Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, Meramec College in St. Louis, Missouri, the Kitchener Waterloo Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

From Article "Jakovac, Markiewicz inaugurate"