Nick van Woert No Man’s Land
Nick van Woert’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, titled No Man’s Land, presents a new body of work focused on topics concerning the natural environment, material chemistry, and the progress of civilization.“No man’s land” is a term used to refer to unoccupied land, a dumping ground, or an undefined place. This idea of an uninhabitable region relays van Woert’s continued obsession with ecology, geology, and the complex history of terrain – one that is both inherent and fabricated. Through painting, photography, sculpture, and installation, No Man’s Land explores the relationship between artificial substance and the environment, while considering the possible results of those liaisons affecting anatomy or mental disposition.
A series of ten paintings, each a monochromatic panel, reference colors found in landscape paintings of the American West from the 1800s. Minimalist in appearance, these works are concocted from myriad man-made products ranging from cat litter to orange soda. The dichotomy, present due to the toxic chemistry of substances used to describe natural properties of pristine landscapes, translates his fixation with the destructive potential of modern convenience.
Van Woert transitions to conveying the broader directive of a primitivist lifestyle with a large-scale installation titled Lines No Fire Could Burn, 2013. Its physical appearance implies a simple log cabin wall, yet its presence feels foreboding. The individual elements, constructed of cast coal slag, have a black, sooty façade, giving the impression of charred remains. The visual extreme in this work – a modest structure with a tragic past – points to the vulnerability and possibly idealistic notion of practicing true “simple living.”
No Man’s Land examines deep ecology, radical environmentalism, and dark histories of the American landscape, yet this exhibition advances the subtext by proposing a narrative: a dissection of the architecture of anarchy. Van Woert’s artistic process and resulting work acts as much as a rebellion or battle between material and concept as it aims to organize entropy.
DatesFebruary 22 - April 06, 2013
Opening ReceptionFriday, February 22, 6-8pm
Location937 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Nick van Woert
All images: No Man’s Land, 2013. Photography courtesy of Morán Morán