15 March 10 – 30 April 10
Andy Wicks takes iconic, but unsightly buildings, and reinvents their bold hulking forms as semi-abstracted silhouettes, set against a rusting background.
The work takes reference from concrete, steel, weather systems, rust and decay; the pieces are executed through a gestural technique, which involves the dripping of liquid veils of paint contrasted with a thicker application of oil. The weeping paint serves almost as a reverse wash, a tear stained window through which we see geometric forms that float ominously. The loss of context and surrounds – simultaneously harshens and softens their architectural power; without modern new buildings or empty wasteland to compete with, the piercing forms become timeless.
Wicks takes his titles from the list of Atlantic hurricanes names, whilst disguising the real world point of reference, these arbitrary names imbue a sense of identity – gender, life time and personality.
The three larger painting titled: Bonnie (east), Bonnie (south) and Bonnie (west), have been created specifically for show at Medcalf; they feature a local structure just set off the City Road. Taking reference from contemporary German painters such as Albert Oehlen, Thomas Scheibitz, and Tobias Lehner, with the smaller canvases Wicks’ experiments with an expanded palette. These pieces move away from the imagery of the larger Bonnie paintings to a more formal abstract aesthetic; working from a baby pink ground to resolve themselves balancing the chaos of dripped, splattered or scrapped paint with slick masked geometry.
Andy Wicks was born in Kent in 1983, having studied BA Fine Art at Middlesex University he now lives and works in London.
His recent exhibitions include:
Solo exhibition: 2008, Andy Wicks; The Commonwealth Club, Northumberland Avenue, London.
Selected group shows, 2010 – The Middle of Nowhere: Objects and Actions in the Abyss; Departure Gallery, Southall. Police and Thieves; The Old Police Station, New Cross, London. Tag: from 3 to 36; New London Painting; Brown, Hoxton, London. 2009 – ULTRAMEGAOK; The Framery, Hackney, London. 2008 – Chiaroscuro; Ada Street Gallery, Hackney, London. New Paintings; The Empire, Vyner Street, London.
Here are some images from current group exhibition Police and Thieves, its an intriguing mix of work in a facinating space. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be invidulating on Sunday 21st between 12 – 5.30 so please come along to have a look round, in the mean time take a peep at the images below.
Exhibition runs until Wednesday 31st March. Open Tuesday – Sunday 12 – 5.30pm
The Old Police Station, 114 – 116 Amersham Vale, New Cross, SE14.
I’ve neglected the blog a bit recently, with two group show openings last week and new work to complete for a solo show being installed on Sunday it been a busy month.
The show at Southall went really well, at the opening the huge space neither felt over hung by works from the 40+ artists or too sparse, even my 3 large paintings (up to 5 x 6ft ) which constantly get in the way in the studio seemed to shrink once hung from the mezzanine floor overlooking the rest of the space. I’m kind of glad a space of this scale isn’t the norm as otherwise I’d probably be creating 15 x 10 ft pieces just to make an statement.
I’ve yet to see the Police and Thieves show in New Cross but will be invigilating at the space on Sunday 21st if anyone wants to come along to look round and have a chat.
Over the last month I’ve been working on 3 pieces for the Medcalf show as all my other work is tied up in Southall/New Cross. The thought of producing new paintings in a short space of time was daunting with a number of walls to fill. As soon as the dates for the exhibition was confirmed I rushed to the studio and stretched up the only piece off canvas I had spare, without knowing the size to get a stretcher made in time I stapled it straight onto the wall, priming with 2 coats of acrylic primer followed by a black/brown wash all in a matter of hours. On the 2nd day I managed to finish the ground with a thicker dark wash consisting of paynes grey, titanium white & a bit of raw umber, these were applied from the tube by palette knife to different areas of the canvas and thinning down with zest-it to get create a wash.
The thing I like about working this way it that it leaves areas of thick paint and change in consistency to the thinned washes, where the zest-it flows past the thicker oil it erodes the paint leaving organic shapes.
I took a photo a while back of a building near City Road, Old Street which has always intrigued me, I think it’s some sort of power substation which has a really iconic but decaying look to it. With a strong form it jumped out as the right image to use for these works, especially as they’ll be on show less than a mile away. I had 2 smaller canvases – 100 x 100 cm and 80 x 80 cm which had been worked on numerous times without going anywhere so I lay some washes on these, one brown and the other more of a creamy white tone. The larger of the two had some angled stripes worked into the white acrylic primer with a dull linen colour acrylic paint and worked well as an undercurrent to the chaos of the overlaid paint. The 80 x 80 cm had elements of pink coming through from my day over Christmas of laying down baby pink under painting which appears through the wash giving the canvas more of a weathered look. For the first time I’ve returned to the same image for each of the 3 pieces with a front-on view and one from each side which while the colour and shape connects them together each reveals a bit more of the building while obscuring something else.
To finish off the show I will be hanging 6 of the 10 x 14″ pink canvases which I’ve been working on since Christmas, each has now moved away from the pink but stayed with loud, bright colours this time staying purely abstract with intersecting diagonals obscuring the flow of the paint beneath. Each retains some of pink ground but has complimented it with their own strong individual compositions and colours. It’s going to interesting to see the contrast between the larger architectural works and these small brighter abstract paintings when hung together.
After a few minor tweaks tomorrow they’ll be done and all the paintings will be wrapped and readied for a short van trip from Bethnal Green to Clerkenwell. Looking at the new paintings particular the largest canvas all things considered I’m very happy with them and who knows, if there wasn’t such a tight deadline they may have continued evolving or even overworked. They work as individual paintings, while together offering up subtle differences, a ghostly silhouette of a structure floating among dreary colourscapes intersected by dark brown diagonals as if the landscape has been obscured by prison bars or a half open blind. Is the viewer locked out of the painting or is the painting is locked out of our world?
You can make your own mind up from Monday 16th March running until Friday 30th April at Medcalf, Exmouth Market.