Nick Waplington’s 7 inch vinyl punk collection is pretty unmatched. We’re hoping he’s gonna be in town to share it at the Cold Lips party we’re pencilling in London for April. Press release follows, below – but Nick is great, best known as a photographer. Here he is with international megastar, Daniel Lismore.
FUN FACT: Waplington doesn’t think he’d have got as far if he’d had a more Jewish-sounding surname, yet he goes to West Bank, Palestine to document the hardcore frontier settler folk of the coming apocalypse, who shelter in rubbish aside abused Palestinian kids. And he got the Spielberg Foundation to pay for it. Punk. God bless religion.
Waplington’s cool as fuck. He deals with complex agendas, whether that’s on the walls of the Tate, or heading toward them, with paintings, such as these that helped him get over much of that Gaza period…
I first met Waplington when we were hanging out at Hotel 17 in New York in the 90s, I think. He was shooting for Dazed, after the phenom success of LIVING ROOM, his book which documents life, kinda like a photographic Shane Meadows (This is England, &c). Nick’s a brilliant photographer, went to college with Tim Noble, & Sue Webster (cover star who gave us the exclusive poem for the first ed of Cold Lips). His studio is opposite the Chapman brothers (90s enfant terribles of the Emin/Hirst/White Cube/Shock Art thang). Nick also did the legit McQueen book (after the designer’s tragic death). Nice project with Red Gallery, taking pictures of all those involved a few years ago (before they scored the booze license after that book I wrote for them).
I still wanna go through Waplington’s Shoreditch 90s photo archive. When we gonna do that, uh?
In a relationship in the States, he blats between the US & UK, his girlfriend an academic specialising in the marvellous John Donne (who used his poetic power to lobby against church ownership of culture when they ran the first printing presses), the rhymer of many good lines. You may remember the lovely PJ Harvey reciting Donne at Glastonbury in 2016. They recently had a son, his second.
Like all good artists, Nick isn’t confined to one medium, and has been painting like a maniac of late – follow him on INSTA to try n keep up: https://www.instagram.com/nickwaplington/
He’s recently had his first show of paintings in London – it was fly – a who’s who of London’s finest attended to support him at the private view. He’s also showing in LA. I LOVE THESE PAINTINGS. They show his skateboarding, NYC/Basquiat influences but beautifully loose and expressionistic.
My walls ache for this art.
Kirsty Allison – editor
THE SEARCH FOR A SUPERIOR MORAL JUSTIFICATION FOR SELFISHNESS
NICK WAPLINGTON new paintings Private View – Wednesday 1st February, 7 – 9pm
Exhibition continues – 2nd February – 4th March 2017
TJ Boulting is delighted to present the gallery’s first solo show with Nick Waplington. For the past three decades he has forged his career primarily as a photographer, and was the first living British artist to have a solo photography show at the Tate in 2014. Yet in recent years he has steadily dedicated a large part of his practice to painting and drawing.
He first began painting in 1995, and it developed in 2007 whilst he was completing a long-term photography project in Israel. After taking photographs outside all day, he found he had time and a favourable environment for painting. In contrast to his photographs, which were outward looking, the paintings were abstract and coming more from his inter- nal state of mind as a reaction to the contemporary world around him. His influences have always stemmed from many things: his surroundings, online porn, the Internet, music, political chaos and the contradictions of everyday life. They are all very much of the present, the here and now. As he says: “I am seeking and searching constantly. People ask me what I find interesting, and the answer is everything.”
Then followed long periods living and working in Los Angeles and New York; in particular spending hours painting in his outside studio in LA, making the most of the long, light, sun-filled days, and on the roof of his studio back in London in the summer. Absorbing the positive nature of the light informed his attitude towards a seemingly negative world. The paintings in this exhibition were all completed between 2016 and the present day, primarily in LA and some in London, and are all acrylic on canvas, 4 x 6 feet in dimension. There is also a wall of works on paper taken directly from his A3 sketchpad and pinned to the wall. For now and for this particular body of work it is very much about the psycho-geogra- phy of LA, the streets, the chaos, the light and the social contrasts and conflicts. The titles manifest themselves from his own late night sketches and mental meanderings, infused with literary snippets from authors such as Beckett, Goethe and Milan Kundera.
An intensely prolific artist, he continues to take photographs, produce books, make sketchbooks full of words and draw- ings, whilst his painting takes a slow trajectory. Although not immediately or literally related, all of his works somehow inform each other, and his paintings in particular, where each one will lead him to the next one in a constantly evolving cycle. He is curious about mixing the high with the low and what that says about society. He juxtaposed his photographs of the fashion world with those of rubbish dumps in his Alexander McQueen Tate show ‘Working Progress’; his way of commenting on the chaos and physical materials of both. In his project ‘The Patriarch’s Wardrobe’, soon to be displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery as part of David Campany’s exhibition ‘A Handful of Dust’, he juxtaposed his photographs of rubbish dumps in the occupied West Bank, scavenged by Palestinian children, with his paintings of the region, inspired by its colour palette. He succinctly describes the difference between the two mediums and what unites them: “My paintings deal with this inner world, whereas my photographic work deals with the world around me,” says Waplington, “I guess the basic difference is with photography the canvas is full and with painting it’s empty. Both give me problems.” Under- lying all of this activity is his constant curiosity with the world around him and the feeling that to observe his work, in whatever medium, is to observe an artist always one step ahead of the game, leaving us to ask what is he doing now, and where is this leading? Only time will tell.
Nick Waplington studied at Nottingham University for his BA in Fine Art in 1988 before completing his MA with Distinction at the Royal College of Art in 1990. He received an ICP In nity award in 1993, and was in the Harold Szeemann curated group exhibition in the Arsenale of Venice Biennale in 2001. He has exhibited widely including a solo show at the Whitechapel Gallery, London (Double Dactyl, 2007), and The Philadelphia Museum of Art (Living Room, 1992). His work is held in a number of prominent museum collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and MoMA, New York. He has had two recent solo shows of his paintings in LA. He is the author of over twenty publications including Living Room, 1991, Other Edens, 1993, Terry Painter L’artiste, 2003, Settlement, 2014 and three with Trolley Books Learn How To Die The Easy Way, 2002, You Love Life, 2005 and Double Dactyl, 2007. His work has been most recently exhibited at the Brooklyn Mu- seum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; his next group show A Handful of Dust curated by David Campany will be at the Whitechapel Gallery from 7 June – 3 September 2017. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York and is temporarily based in London.
For more information please contact Hannah Watson: Hannah@tjboulting.com