Andrew Wapinski's solo show opens this Friday night at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE. I sat down with Andrew this week to discuss a few topics, artist to artist. First I asked Andrew how and why he chose to become an artist? He told me it sort of happened, that he didn't seek it out. He has artists in his family on his mother's side and his uncle was an art teacher. He went to college for Art Education but after his first painting class he just wanted to be in the studio more. His junior year he changed majors to Fine Arts and then continued on that path. His last comment on the subject was he doesn't know what he'd be doing if he wasn't painting; this was clearly demonstrated after his show was hung and he was seen roaming the halls day after day.
The body of work on display at the DCCA is paintings on acrylic primed panels, layered with gold leaf and colored resin. I asked him how he came about to work in these materials. He explained how it was an evolution that began with his study of traditional painting materials while obtaining his Master's degree. He explained that the gold symbolizes progression, power, wealth and spirituality. He is interested in portraying the struggle between man's need for progression and nature. There are also references to the history of painting in particular, Byzantine and Renaissance painting. He elaborated that the gold leaf is a traditional painting material that he enjoys because of the grid that is inherent in it's application but also it's malleable qualities. He uses additive and subtractive techniques to arrive at the distinct surface textures that are ultimately illuminated by layers of resin. He uses resin like the old masters glazing techniques building up layers of color to obtain visual richness and physical heft. He told me that his unique combination of traditional painting materials and contemporary industrial materials also speaks about the progression of man.
Some of Andrew's influences are Byzantine and Renaissance painters, early Renaissance painter Masaccio, Vermeer for the way he painted light, on the contemporary side Matthew Ritchie and Roxy Paine.
Andrew's show titled Wasteland is on display in the
Beckler Family Members' Gallery through April 18, 2010. See more of his work here.