Galerie Züger holds some of the finest international contemporary art collections in the world. So it’s no wonder that when Randy Wix walked into the gallery with photos of his industrial work 10 years ago, they immediately asked for 20 pieces.
By definition, contemporary art pushes boundaries, and Wix’s work is no exception. He studied the abstracts of 1940’s rebels like Jackson Pollock and used his blue-collar background as a construction worker and landscaper to teach himself how to “paint” outside of the lines.
In fact, he builds his own canvases. He begins with a foam core, and then adds textures, such as grouts and glues. From there, he works his way out through layers, adding molding and drywall tape for structural support and construction materials and found objects for aesthetic appeal.
He may begin a piece with a texture, color, mood or a visual in mind, such as a steel mill he saw.
“It’s my interpretation of that,” Wix says. “I work at it until I feel it’s balanced in terms of color, texture and material.”
When people view Wix’s pieces, they see something familiar — everyday things they can relate to, be it a number or a trowel mark or a tile or riveted steel — yet it appears new within the context of art. In this way, they develop their own relationship with, and understanding of, the artwork.
For Wix, each piece is an exploration of the unknown — a journey that will never take place again. For example, he is currently creating pieces from salvaged lamps, glass and a hammered steel table from an 8-year-old roofing company that went out of business. Once he runs out of those materials, “that’s it,” he says.
Though he doesn’t adhere rigidly to a specific style, his work has evolved into more dimensional pieces that rely upon building materials as a unifying thread. He says his art will always continue to develop.
“Five or 10 years from now, people wouldn’t recognize it, because I like to continue to push myself,” he says.
He keeps his artwork fresh through experimentation without preconceived notions of how things should be. For example, he etches words into some paintings with a Dremel tool, without worrying that the result is illegible. Instead, he embraces the artistic texture it provides.
“I like to create art that appears simple but upon closer scrutiny is quite complex, depicting emotions rather than objects,” he says, adding that abstraction liberates him. “It pushes my boundaries and challenges me to craft new and more dynamic pieces. In my paintings, there are no rules or guidelines when it comes to the creative process.”