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Nick Wall’s minimalist paintings are an insight into his zen-inspired life philosophy that suggests universal action and reaction are the ultimate ...
Nick Wall’s minimalist paintings are an insight into his zen-inspired life philosophy that suggests universal action and reaction are the ultimate equilibrium for human existence.
Recent exhibitions reveal the evolution of this young artist. For his 2004 series Art as Nature as Art the Bonsai tree was the primary motif as a stylised lineal form, the tree became a metaphor for the journey of life. A bright palette of red and orange conveyed a mixed message of emotion and restraint. These energetic colours were confined within Wall’s use of ‘sacred geometry’ – the use of geometric shapes to understand the universe, yet their presence augured for dynamism and vitality.
For Wall’s 2005 exhibition, The Game of Yes and No the lineal emphasis was replaced by the solid geometric presence of the circle. In an exploration of the positive and negative – hence the game of yes and no – pictorial elements were pared down to their most simplified form. The orange and red from the series prior was replaced by shades of grey as Wall explored the expansive potential of a black and white palette.
Compositionally, Wall’s canvases fuse geometric sensibility with the spontaneous ‘chance’ quality of Abstract Expressionism. This apparent juxtaposition is evident in his application, in which paint is allowed to dribble across the canvas, but only so far as his innate perception for balance will allow. With posterity in mind Wall employs the highest quality materials, many of which he crafts himself. His media is diverse and includes acrylic, gesso, pencil, synthetic and acrylic polymers, and graphite on linen and paper.
Artistic progress is maintained by a process Wall describes as “tightening and loosening.” This ongoing tension in his productive routine reveals a battle between freedom and limitation, freedom only being allowed to conquer when limitation has prevailed, and so on the cycle repeats. This, Wall says, is the key to his continued productivity, his hunger for “soul food”.
Although a New Zealander, Wall’s art is not bound to a New Zealand agenda, rather it should be considered in the wider context of contemporary art. His Influences are drawn from the great American exponents of Abstract Expressionism, “always Reinhardt” says Wall, although comparisons can be made with local exemplars of the movement. Gordon Walters’ schematised circle and bar is of the same visual language as Wall’s minimalist works, in which the circle has emerged as a core motif. Likewise, a comparison can be made between Wall and New Zealand (New York based) abstract artist, Max Gimblett, whom Wall has assisted in teaching. Like Gimblett, Wall’s paintings harvest a spiritual energy indebted to the legacy of Post War expressionism.
Wall considers himself an artist in an age where “religion and spirituality are separate.” Titles such as In search of the Watcher suggest a higher being is summoned, when in fact the watcher sees from within. Wall’s introspection should not be mistaken for egotism, instead a rational, humanist spirituality drawn from a fusion of Asian philosophies.
Nick Wall is an emerging artist of rare integrity. His talent has been acknowledged in a first place prize in the Nokia Art Awards, as well as three solo exhibitions at the Warwick Henderson Gallery. Additionally, Wall is represented in the James Wallace Trust Collection.
1999 ARTEX 99 Whitecliffe Representative
1999 Gordon Harris Art Supplies Auckland Painting Award
1999 Studio Art Supplies Auckland Painting Award
1999 Wikiriwhi Top Student Scholarship
1999 Nokia Art Award New Zealand Winner
2000 Nokia Art Award Asia Pacific New Zealand Representative
2000 Wallace Award Finalist
2001 Wallace Award Finalist
2002 Wallace Award Finalist
2003 Wallace Award Finalist
2004 Laminex Group, Young NZ Creatives Campaign
Peace Channel Magazine
National Business Review
1999 Whitecliffe Gallery, Auckland
1999 The Area Gallery, Auckland
1999 Morgan Street Gallery, Auckland
2000 The Edge, Aotea Center, Auckland
2000 Sculpture Square, Singapore
2000 Chiarascuro Gallery, Auckland
2001 The Edge, Aotea Center, Auckland
2001 Watermark Gallery, Wellington
2001 Wallace Gallery, Auckland
2002 Auckland War Memorial Museum
2003 Group Show – Warwick Henderson Gallery, Auckland
2004 Art as Nature as Art – Warwick Henderson Gallery, Auckland
2005 The Game of Yes and No – Warwick Henderson Gallery, Auckland
2006 Colour & Light – Warwick Henderson Gallery
2010 Autumn and Winter Catalogue – Warwick Henderson Gallery
2010 Auckland Art Fair
2011 Diodic – Warwick Henderson Gallery
2012 Nothing Added – Warwick Henderson Gallery