Demarcation: Andrew Wapinski

16 September - 20 October 2022

Sag Harbor Artist Reception:

Saturday, September 17th, 5:30-8:00pm

I have always been interested in the way we individually and collectively interact with nature and how that interaction forces our surroundings into a constant state of flux. This is the root of my studio practice. Filtered through artistic process, my experiences and observations become aesthetically defined by form, surface, light, line and material. The aim of my work is twofold. First is to address the fragile impermanence of our natural and built environments. Second is to explore what the human role has been in reshaping these environments over time.

The source of my interest stems from my experience growing up in a northeastern Pennsylvania coal mining town. There, my natural surroundings were forever shifting due to the mass extraction of anthracite coal. Decades of mining gave way to an industrialized cycle of construction and deconstruction, allowing man-made and natural environments to coalesce into an anomalous new terrain. Surface mined coal regions offer visually unique landscapes filled with black hillsides, sheared mountain tops and deeply cut open pit mines. Being immersed in such a volatile location where millennia of natural land formations quickly becomes restructured, it is easy to recognize a clear line of demarcation where man has interceded geological time.

My daily studio practice is modeled on my experience as a witness to short cycle evolution produced by man and industry. I have taken my lifelong connection to anthracite coal and adapted it as a material for painting and drawing. Using coal alongside pigmented ice, which becomes a placeholder for geological processes, and with extensive reduction of surface in reference to excavation, I have the foundation to further develop a deeply personal and singular visual language and narrative. References to the natural forces and man-made systems that have shaped our evolutionary time on earth such as tectonics, glaciation, architecture, cartography and communications, are built up, destroyed, reorganized and reimagined through an intensive physical studio process of give and take.

My viewpoint is that each work becomes a new construct serving as a reflection on the passage of time and history of man transforming material with intent. Furthermore, I see each work as a recreation of the human condition. An exploration into what shapes and drives us to interact with our environments and how we continually reshape our environments through our use of the raw materials contained within them.

Installation Views