Andy Wicks Paints Blog

Limited edition prints

Posted in News by Andy Wicks on 18 March, 2011

I’m pleased to announced the release of my first Limited Edition Prints which I have produced in collaboration with Rise Art. Given the opportunity to create two new pieces exclusively for the edition run I decided to embrace the printing process to achieve the sort of perfection usually impossible for a painter dealing with a wet and reactionary paint process. I have previously found myself spending time trying to recreate a particular finish with limited success. Each piece was painted with oils on paper with the foreground and background scanned and superimpose together. I decided to use the same background on each to challenge the idea of the pieces every existing in a form other than the finished composed print, through the printing process the works are completed. Both prints feature a Thames dolphin (mooring construction) which have been the subject of my recent series of works, both feature a metal Tripod form showing signs of age while still being distinctly different.

The sharpness of the veins of paint in the background flow beneath the image rooting the structure to a deep and rich earthy surround. While the central image reveals the brush marks and flicks of paint giving it the illusion of standing proud of the paper, this creates a similar contrast to my paintings which have a deep gloss background with a flat matt central image.

Details for both editions : Paper Size: 450mm x 600mm, Image: 373mm x 525mm, Archival Pigment Print on 315 gsm Cotton Rag paper with hand torn edges, Edition of 25

To purchase an Edition or find out more about Rise Art and the prints click here – Lisa & Matthew

Lisa (2011) Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Rag paper

Matthew (2011) Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Rag paper

Painting backgrounds, John Martin and Newcastle

Posted in Artists, Exhibitions, Paintings by Andy Wicks on 9 March, 2011

I was intending to upload a few images of the grounds of current work in progress before I worked over the top, I was going to write how they are reminiscent of John Martin’s swirling apocalyptic sky’s. That was a couple of weeks ago and the thought past, that is until I saw an article on Martin’s (Guardian 4th March 2011) recently opened survey at the Laing Art Gallery is Newcastle.

John Martin The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-1853

So here saved from that huge blog in the sky are the intended images –

Usually created in a single sitting these grounds are made from a careful mix of a resin medium, thinned oil paints and thinners. Tipped and poured the paint dissipates into the resin, creating glitches as the paint moves to find space to settle. Some areas show through as pure paint,  some as pure resin showing the raw canvas beneath while others show a combination with paint sunk into the resin as if submerged in water.

I hope to go to Newcastle to see the John Martin before it closes in June, its a great city and not only is there the Laing and the Baltic but  also Workplace Gallery (in Gateshead) which is well worth a visit. If you go between 5-26 May make sure you visit Fade Away at Gallery North touring from Transition and featuring my painting “Karl”.

Studio work in progress Feb 2010

Posted in Paintings by Andy Wicks on 4 February, 2010

Update on the small paintings I’ve been working on since the new year (mentioned HERE). Each has been approached differently with the only constraint being a pink base coat. I brought myself a selection of 20 Michael Harding oil tubes over Christmas (££), the first time I’ve tried out quality paints and so far so good, the colours are much more vivid than I’m used to due to a higher pigment/oil ratio compared with cheaper student quality paints. Also with a wider range of colours my palette has expanded considerably, something I’m willing to do but conscious of keeping more regular darker tones in the mix. More to follow..

Its all in the name

Posted in Writings by Andy Wicks on 23 January, 2010

I visited Kate MacGarry’s latest show on Vyner Street today and saw Josh Blackwell’s Juniors – an exhibition of numerous Jumpers and sweaters drawn with ink on paper at a small scale as if they had shrunk in the wash. The works were hung in a Salon style over the 3 joining walls with seemingly no order. On reading the press release i learnt that each piece has a name such as Harry, Tony, Benny and Eddie which gave the sweaters a personality  of their own.

Josh Blackwell - Tony - 2009

Anyone who knows my work, or has been reading this blog may know that I employ a similar system with my paintings by using names such as Bertha, Joaquin, Dolly and Mindy which in a similar way forces the viewer to consider each piece in context to a specific gender and personality. While the names I choose aren’t in themselves important or significant, together they are an alphabetical list of Atlantic Hurricane names each relating to a particular year, some of these names, odd as they are, get public recognition during Hurricane season after particularly destructive power.

Andy Wicks - Untitled (after Reznor) - 2006

I have been interested in how paintings are named for some time, with a mainly abstract subject matter I find that giving a painting a particular item/emotion or phrase as a name results in too much being read into the image or creates a certain expectations in the reason for creating such an image. Personally I prefer to use more ambiguous names and systems to offer something different to a piece.  There’s a long history of codes and systems being used to name paintings, there was a great article in issue two the sadly now defunct Art World Magazine which discussed the use of naming abstract painting, I can’t find a link to it but worth getting hold of.

Whilst studying my BA I created a series of paintings based on songs of numerous rock bands, in a sort of pop Synesthesia creating coloured multi layered abstracts mapping out sounds, progression and tempo. For this body of work I wanted to hint at the origin of the work without spelling it out and decided to use the surname of the guitarist from each song in the title, at the time I was particularly interest in Basquiat’s work and noticed that he titled works as Untitled then occasionally in brackets a hint at what was the work could be about – such as Untitled (Angel). What I liked about this method was that I could create a series of abstract works seemingly unrelated to one another except for certain a gestures and palatte and offer a hint to only the most informed viewer. When showing the likes of Reznor, Richards, Finck, Iha and Hammett together at my degree show the names start to make sense and unravel the influence.

Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled (Angel)

In 2007 I moved to the more geometric style which I use today and with it a change in title, I employed a numbering system featuring year of creation and work number creating an order – 07.1/07.2 etc as a way of striping back any reference what so ever, except for production information. From the Art World Magazine article mentioned earlier, I learnt of John Hoyland’s titles from the 1960 who employed a similar method.

The painting’s title, 17.3.69, refers to the date on which it was completed. The use of a date as title has diaristic resonances, suggesting an element of personal expression at odds with the numerical code and the controlled, abstract composition.

Elizabeth Manchester, March 2003, Tate Online

John Hoyland - 17. 3. 69 - 1969

I’ve been using the Hurricane names since 2008, I came across them by chance after hearing of a particular storm and wanting to know more where the names come from and what they mean. Originally I didn’t reveal the source or at least not in writing but I’ve since found it adds a further layer to the works and is a good discussion point, so much so that I’ve started to feature it in press releases – see ULTRAMEGAOK entry from December.

This current system of naming combines what I had with the personification of the Guitarist names and the order of creation of the 07.x series in the form of alphabetical distribution. The Atlantic Hurricanes names are in a 6 year cycle, so I have enough material to keep me going until 2013, I like the fact that on completing a piece I can consult the list and check off a name – an autonomous system of working. During the year some of the pieces take on a new found meaning following a particularly bad storm, in such cases when a certain level of destruction has occured the names are retired from the list and replaced with a new name of the same letter which will feature when the list comes round once more 6 year later.

Another artist I admire, Tomma Abts titles her paintings in a similar way working from a dictionary of regionally German names which are not often unfamiliar to English speaking audiences, unlike my method I guess she employs a level of editorial control and perhaps looks for certain qualities within the paintings before choosing a name, or maybe its all down to chance?

(…imagines a show of paintings such featuring the likes of Harry, Tony, Benny and Eddie, Bertha, Joaquin, Dolly and Mindy, Fewe, Lübbe, Mehm and Teete all shouting out for attention.)

Tomma Abts - Teete - 2003

Tag: From 3 to 36 – New London Painting

Posted in Exhibitions by Andy Wicks on 5 January, 2010

I mentioned this show in a blog entry last month, it opens Thursday and the full list of artists can be found below.

January 7 – February 6, 2010
Opening Reception: January 7 from 6-8PM

Tag: From 3 to 36 – New London Painting

For the exhibition – Tag – Three London-based painters have each been asked to invite one other London-based painter they like or admire, who will then invite another, and so on. This has resulted in 36 artists being invited to participate, each with their own unique style of painting.

Tag was a way to allow each artist to ‘curate’ or organize the next step in the exhibition, in a similar way to exquisite corpse, where each person asked to contribute is aware of the person who precedes and follows, but is unaware of what is being contributed. Similarities appear between artists within each tagged thread, often marking a close understanding of the invited painter’s work. Viewers may examine each work, and decipher influences or contrasting differences.

Tag also perhaps gives a better survey of current London-based painting than a single organizer could give – as abstract and figurative painters, recent graduates and more established artists, and a variety of mediums and sizes are shown here side by side.

The rules each artist received when asked to participate were the same:

Each participating artist must be a painter who resides in Greater London
Each person must contribute one painting, smaller than 90 x 90 cm
Each artist will ask one other artist to participate, until 15 artists are included in each thread

As there was a given time frame, many artists were quick to respond and participate. However, as any exhibition with rules would likely discover, the rules can also break down. In one thread, an artist was unresponsive after agreeing to participate, leaving a short space of time to try and finish the chain. Therefore, another artist was asked in their place, who then asked two artists in order to try and create separate branches and a longer thread. Although this thread is still the shortest of the three, this directional shift adds greatly to the basic idea of Tag – that surprises and turns in an exhibition, or an artist’s work, trump any rules.

Artist List
(In order within the three threads. Underlined names are the initial three artists who were asked to contribute by Brown)

Gabriel Hartley
Mali Morris
Alex Scarfe
Stewart Cliff
Tom Livesey
Tom Bull
David Northedge
Andy Wicks
Alex Carmichael
Lyle Perkins
Geraldine Swayne
Howard Dyke
Clare Price
Stephanie Moran
Marcus Cope

Rannva Kunoy
Alexis Marguerite Teplin
Sophie von Hellerman
Cullinan + Richards
Milena Dragicevic
David R. Fenwick

Luke Rudolf
Annie Hemond Hotte
Gorka Mohamed
Robin Kirsten
Jill Mason
Tim Ellis
Jack Newling
Angus Sanders-Dunnachie
Yohei Yashi
Yo Okada
Miho Sato
Juan Bolivar
Karen David
Lee Maelzer
Dale Adcock

Lower Ground Floor
42 Hoxton Square
London N1 6PB
+44 (0)20 7729 1290

Axis Curators choice

Posted in News by Andy Wicks on 4 January, 2010

I’m pleased to have been selected as this weeks Curators choice on Axis website. My painting Bill will be display on the front page of the directory section all week.

Andy Wicks - Bill - 2009

Tagged with: , ,

Studio work in progress Jan 2010

Posted in Paintings by Andy Wicks on 2 January, 2010

New Year – New paintings underway. With ULTRAMEGAOK coming down at the end of December and Odette completed for Tag  @ Brown which opens this Thursday, all the pieces I have been working on have now been completed, while the studio certainly isn’t empty I always like to have something on the go. Over Christmas I’ve stretched up 10 canvas 25.4 x 35.5 cm to get going on for the new year, I’ve always found it hard to work on a primed canvas, with my thinned oil dripped background I usually apply a layer to tint the canvas and give some flow and texture to the future painting. I much prefer to speedily cover the primed canvas rather than start painting directly on to it which can often come across as muddy – particularly with the brown tones I use.

With some of the large architectural pieces from last year I used a thick dark black/brown mix on the sides as a border with a thinned colour in the same tone on the face, the dark tone gave the paintings a depth of ground with any additional application of paint lightening the composition. These 10 pieces currently in progress are stretched with a primed polyester which is very smooth and bright white, for a while I’ve been thinking about using brighter coloured grounds which would work particularly well with the bright white primer. The colour I’ve mixed up is a baby pink, a total opposite to my usual, with each canvas I tried a different type of application from thinned dripped ground, splatted, pooled and thicker applications. Since the photo was taken I’ve been working the pink into the background with a dark more usual palette over the top, letting the warmth work more subtly.

Thomas Scheibitz - Stilleben - 2009

This  sort of bright palette reminds me of Thomas Scheibitz’s excellent exhibition at Camden Art Centre in 2008, he uses lots bright oranges and pinks amongst darker colours in his large scale paintings and works on paper.

Exhibition Shots

Posted in Exhibitions by Andy Wicks on 14 December, 2009

Private view images

Posted in Exhibitions by Andy Wicks on 11 December, 2009

We had a fantastic opening with many faces from the past and some new contacts, we also had a reviewer from an online blog come along so hopefully a good write up will bring get us some more people through the door. We’re opening Thursday – Sunday until 20th December, 12 – 7 pm, come along to The Framery, its number 3 with the bright red door.

Here are a few shots from the opening, i’m going to try and take some proper images of the paintings soon.

The Artists (from left to right) Andy Wicks, David Northedge & Matthew Atkinson

Ready for private view

Posted in Exhibitions by Andy Wicks on 10 December, 2009

A glimpse - Matthew's new work during installation

So the work is hung, the drinks are in the buckets, the press releases are printed and the doors will soon be open. We spent an exhausting day moving paintings, drilling holes and walking around a massive cash and carry trying to find the booze but now our work here is done and we’re ready to invite all to see our efforts.

I always find hanging a show the best bit, although after some trouble with strap hangers and crumbly brick walls perhaps I would prefer to overseeing someone else slightly more patient doing the physical stuff. While I knew both Matthew and David’s old work well, they’ve both surprised and excelled in equal measure with the new pieces produced, its interesting to finally bring the paintings together into a single room and see how they sit after previously imagining them from behind the monitor.

The exhibition features a broad spectrum of contemporary painting and really sets off against the space well, embracing its intriguing features (check out that chandelier!) and challenging details. All that there is to do now is open the doors up at 6pm and hope people turn up!