At the opening night of Nick Van Woert’s solo exhibition “No Man’s Land” at OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles, it was whispered that the subject’s garbs in “Microscope”, primitively pieced together, dilapidated and grime encrusted hood/hat/sweatshirt suit, once belonged to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. The details of Van Woert’s acquisition of this 20th century American Psycho’s personal belongings have been re-hashed many times over (a tip from a buddy on an ensuing online Police Auction). Yet, this precise interaction of the gallery’s patrons to this piece is a relevant interpretation of the whole experience at OHWOW; observation coupled with a peculiar intrigue. Although, this print with its mysterious pivoted subject was the subject of many an audible hush, it was the materials that were the prevailing star.
The marriages of textures within the “Landscape” series, are each a well-executed, sculptors’ take on painting. The juxtaposition of deep opaque’s and slick chromatic colors seemed to dance in front of the viewers’ eye – a canvas in constant motion. The quizzical moment came when noting the formula of each steel framed canvas, an unidentified amount of kitty litter, muscle milk, orange soda, gorilla glue and BBQ rocks among other things. Another eye opener is the seemingly static tabletop pieces, eponymously titled “No Man’s Land”. What appeared to be an electric hued thick and stationary gelatin hovered above crustaceous, hermetically sealed tools. But, one by one, individuals came to the table and blew lightly on the surface. What appeared as stationary soon danced as stunningly, and more literally, then the “Landscape” series. Assuredly enough, those who offered their breath to the table were most likely assaulted with the scent of dental hygiene: the liquid of one surface- Barbie Pink mouthwash, the other a more adult Mint Listerine.
The painting and sculptures of “No Man’s Land” employs materials, whose solo existence is as mundane as it is excessive. Yet, the well-commanded articulation of these materials seems to exist in a perpetual state of tension in hyper-modern solitude. The long abandoned territory (marked by the seemingly burned down Kaczynski-esque cabin façade of the coal slag and white bronze entrance, “Line’s No Fire Could Burn”), presents an arresting site for the cold, sometimes odd, nevertheless often enchanting works.
Nick Van Woert’s No Man’s Land runs through April 7th. For more information visit here.
-Contributed by Bianca Guillen