The work of American artist Nick van Woert is currently on view at the Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris. Taking its name from a 2010 work, Haruspex refers to the practice of divination in Etruscan or Roman religious practice, called Haruspicy involving the interpretation of mens or predicting the future based on the entrails of animals. Inspired by the images of divination and dismemberment, the artist has constructed a series of pieces that approach modern economic and social conditions of the world through the deconstruction and application of material runoff.
Nick van Woert is a Brooklyn-based artist and has had 2 previous solo exhibitions with Yvonne Lambert Galleries. Trained as an architect, van Woert has been working with the detritus of daily life since 2006. Culling a number of works from Van Woert’s recent show in Los Angeles, the exhibition continues Van Woert’s interest in the materials of the every day. Using construction materials and household items, van Woert has organized artifacts of daily life into a composition that seeks to interrogate the fundamental values at the core of the human-material relationship. Like the practice of Haruspicy, van Woert seeks to navigate and examine specific aspects of society through the physical manifestations and accumulated objects of human life. The industrial and anthropomorphic compositions are composed through compression and division of kitty litter, concrete, metal, tools, and construction materials.
This exhibition reveals an attitude that is at once ironic, critical, and fascinated with the fact of material, weight, and physical occupation of space that is intrinsic in all artistic practice, and sculpture especially. The title piece, a fiberglass structure completed in 2010, reveals a playful fascination the artist holds for incidental aesthetic accidents that can take place, welcoming intrusions of the contemporary world into the art historical contexts that van Woert willingly plays with and actively subverts. A classical form from foot to waist, the statue is completed in brilliant color with “materials and trash from an empty lot next to the studio”.
Both the breadth and the concept of this exhibition make the work of the viewer especially demanding, but certainly encourage a whimsical interpretation of the possibilities of inorganic substance and the human life as conditioned by the material world. Haruspex is on view until July 30th.