Compression: Andrew Wapinski

21 March - 3 May 2019

Mark Borghi is pleased to present, Compression, featuring recent works by the artist Andrew Wapinski. 


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. 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. He has exhibited extensively on the east coast and has work in numerous corporate and private collections.


Andrew Wapinski grapples with our contemporary interactions with the natural world. Tied to the industrialized landscape of the coal mining town where the artist grew up, Wapinski is interested in the relationship between raw material and human interaction. In this recent body of work Compression, Wapinski uses anthracite coal from Saint Clair and acrylic on linen mounted on panel. The artist explores his relationship to place and memory through these materials. His monochromatic body of work explores the nature of meaning and consequence of intentionality when organic material is harvested, reshaped and repurposed.


Wapinski's rich surfaces are built up and broken down during his methodical studio process. Through this rigorous process based mark making, a luminous yet opaque light condition emerges from the canvas. Often feeling backlight as the coal is scraped against the surface exposing the next layer back towards the whiteness of the ground. The artist’s process of repetition produces something new every time.


The surface tension is expansive and granular, forcing the viewer to physically slow down to interact with the paintings. It is within moments, that the paintings begin to offer a meditative experience to their audience. Mood is created in the quiet materiality. The paintings become rhythmic, like a sense of breath. Compression is a means to an end; suspended in action, the work exudes a static kinetic energy. It is simultaneously forceful and stable. Lingering in this white noise, Wapinski offers us a monochromatic poetry in his recent body of work.