Nick van Woert’s practice is rooted in his architectural background and reflects on modern day society, technology and progress. Van Woert works with contemporary materials that are ubiquitous in the environment around us, investigating the extreme polarity materials can traverse. Fascinated by the material language of art and what things consist of, he dismantles and strips down objects to examine what remains.
Since his first solo exhibition in 2010, Van Woert has made typically large scale, mixed media sculptures, wall works, and paintings from quotidian materials. His interest in radical environmentalism is not expressed through his lifestyle, or a retreat to nature. Instead, one can locate an approach to thinking and working in concert with the immediate environment, immediate materials, and considering his own contemporary urban landscape and the ubiquity of artificial materials such as Muscle Milk and Kool-Aid as a recent departure from a history of what he terms more “monolithic” materials like stone and wood. In the late 60s, radical environmentalists transformed everyday, artificial materials into weapons in an attempt to preserve the American West: they poured sugar into gas tanks and mixed hair gel with chlorine to burn billboards. Those various materials signify the comforts of modern life: wealth, leisure, vanity, vacation—yet they can be mixed or altered, and suddenly they turn violent. These materials, produced through modern technological advances and almost never spoil, subconsciously satisfy a human desire for immortality that may only become more extreme as technology and time progresses.