John Minieri is a Curatorial Fellow in Wave Hill’s Visual Arts Department.
With just over a week left in the first session, I stopped in to the galleries to see what the artists have been up to. My first visit was with Nick Lamia, who has been spending time drawing and painting both in his studio and on the grounds of Wave Hill. Nick’s work seeks to explore the interaction and relation between man and nature through multi-dimensional abstract pieces based on observations from the real world. Reflecting on the month of January, which included his public workshops, Nick has found that he is reconnecting with the natural environment in a method similar to his artistic approach from the early years of his career, when he spent significant time along the coast of Maine.
Prior to beginning the Winter Workspace, Nick’s artistic approach stemmed from the use of previous observations and experiences within the built and natural world. Nick’s time spent living in major metropolitan regions and the wilderness settings of the Sierra Nevada and Maine have had a significant impact on his artistic practice. Memories recalled from these contrasting settings have become the source material for his abstract paintings and installations, which often resemble fragmented maps. The time spent at Wave Hill has allowed Nick to refine his approach, and has provided him with the opportunity to create new visual abstractions from a direct source rather than previous observations. Below are some examples of Nick’s work, and the process he has been employing thus far. Beginning en plein air, a French expression meaning “in the open air”, Nick has been creating in-depth pencil drawings and studies around Wave Hill.
Starting small, Nick created a handful of initial abstractions based on his observation of the tree, as shown in this second image. Though the drawing of the tree seems to capture only a moment of the entire observation, the abstraction begins to draw on the changing light and environmental conditions Nick experienced while drawing.
Though these paintings often form the basis of inspiration for larger site-specific installation pieces, Nick plans to continue working on similar paintings in various sizes for the remainder of his time at Wave Hill.