ONLINE VIEWING ROOM
ONLINE VIEWING ROOM
Born in Saint Clair Pennsylvania, Andrew Wapinski is a visual artist whose current practice is rooted in the memories of interacting with the environment of the historic coal mining town in which he grew up. His work places great importance on the physicality of material and its relationship to artistic process. Melting blocks of pigmented ice, hand ground anthracite coal and the collection of dust from his reductive painting processes lay the foundation for Wapinski to investigate interwoven themes of liminal space, reclamation and material significance as they relate to shifting environments and sense of place.
Wapinski received his BFA in Painting from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and an MFA in Painting from The University of Delaware. Andrew Wapinski lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.
In Intercedent, his second solo exhibition with Callan Contemporary, Andrew Wapinski advances his ongoing inquiry into the dynamic between natural and man-made processes. With a unique complement of materials— pigmented ice, sumi ink, gesso, and anthracite coal—he creates visually and conceptually complex paintings on linen-mounted panel. The coal, which he uses as a drawing tool, comes from his hometown, St. Clair, Pennsylvania, where he grew up watching the landscape constantly transforming as a result of underground and surface mining. He became aware of the dramatic ways we use technology to intercede in geological time and processes, displacing tons of earth and rock to serve human needs. Wapinski’s artwork is a metaphor for this phenomenon. Although his paintings combine aspects of gestural and geometric abstraction, some of his forms evoke land masses, grids, and architectural structures, a further tie-in with his thematic concerns.
In his Philadelphia studio, he freezes large blocks of ink and pigment-infused ice, which he allows to melt onto canvas in controlled fashion, imprinting the picture plane with billowing, enigmatic forms. He applies, then excavates thin layers of gesso, responding to the contours of the forms, repeatedly sanding and re-gessoing to impart a richness and nuance of texture. The compositions are bifurcated with an intercedent, a line of demarcation imposing geometric order upon the irregular forms. His use of ice as a medium suggests the land- shaping forces of glaciation and glacial melt, another natural process impacted by human society. “I see each work as a recreation of the human condition,” he has written, “an exploration into what drives us to interact with and continually reshape our environments...” In Wapinski’s austerely beautiful paintings, the fragility and evanescence of organic and industrial paradigms become aestheticized. Construction and deconstruction trade places in a perennial dance of flux and becoming.
Wapinski earned a B.F.A. degree in painting from Kutztown University and an M.F.A., also in painting, from the University of Delaware. His work has been reviewed in publications such as The Washington Post, New American Paintings, and Artline; exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States; and included in significant private and corporate collections, including Bloomingdales and Capital One.
- Richard Speer