Andy Wicks Paints Blog

Studio Party

Posted in News by Andy Wicks on 3 May, 2010

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We opened our studio up to friends and contacts on Friday 30th April to great success. The pulling power of free wine, a selection of cheese, biscuits and chutney along with some art was too much to turn down with people turning up in droves, as well as invited guests we even had a few lost souls wandering Vyner Street on a Friday night (perhaps confusing Deptford Last Friday for our First Thursday, eitherway a great time was had by all). My studio mates and I last opened up during the Acava Open studio weekend in August last year, while we had a large turn out it felt more pressured and more of a show and tell as apposed to the relaxed party we enjoyed on this occasion, not that our latest creations weren’t on display but it seemed easier to have honest and open discussions with  the changing faces. I showed mostly new works in progress and found it helpful to have input and share ideas with our guests, some helpful, some playful and some damn right odd (two people commented that a new painting of a decommissoned RAF bunker looked like a cat, infact someone said it looked like a specific cat from children television.. most worrying!)

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