"The process is to feel my own being, from the heel of my shoe up to every
aspect of myself, in relation to the wind and to the way that I’m moving."
In 1956 Andy Wing, a recent Bard College graduate and an artist with the Miller
Advertising Agency, packed his bags, left New York, and headed West. He wrote in
his journal that he hoped to " find the tranquility in which to be [himself]
and create, and try to absorb, overcome and place in proper perspective " his
art education. Wing chose to free himself from artistic convention, delving into
a period of intense creative experimentation in Laguna Beach, California, where
he found a community of like-minded intellectual Bohemians whose respect he earned
because of his authenticity, art and activism.
Andy Wing was one of many American abstract artists whose art was grounded in the
forms, materials and cadences of nature. He took classes at the Art Students League
in New York City; many of Wing’s artistic philosophies echo Hans Hofmann’s Abstract
Expressionist teachings, specifically Hofmann’s exploration of experimental "action"
painting and his creation of"push/pull" visual sensations within his vital,
light-filled paintings. Yet the techniques Wing employed to achieve these goals
were ones he developed alone, based on his own social conscience, artistic instincts
and personal circumstances.
He stored all manner of urban debris and wooden forms found in nature in an area
of his Laguna Beach property he referred to as his "recyclery." From these
materials, Wing constructed his own innovatively shaped canvases and painting surfaces.
He was initially forced by his finances to make the outdoors his studio, but over
time the environment of his garden became an integral part of his season- and nature-based
He wrote in his journal
that he hoped to "find the tranquility in which to be [himself] and create,
and try to absorb, overcome and place in proper perspective"
His strategy of exposing his works to the elements of nature in order to create
their exceptional patinas underscores his desire to enlist external universal forces
as partners in his creative endeavors. While heaving pigment onto a canvas in a
1987 video recording, Wing explained, "The process is to feel my own being,
from the heel of my shoe up to every aspect of myself, in relation to the wind and
to the way that I’m moving."