Christopher Wool (1955, Boston, MA). Lives and works in New York and Marfa, Texas.
“With the painting the inspiration comes from the process of the work itself. Like music it is an emotional experience. It’s a visual language and it’s almost impossible to put words to it.” – Christopher Wool
Wool studied at Sarah Lawrence College and the New York Studio School.
Making a name in the New York art scene in the early 1980s, Christopher Wool is best known for his word paintings, white canvases with black stenciled letters.
Exploring pattern in his art in his early paintings, Wool used commercial rollers to apply decorative effects on canvas. He introduced graffiti techniques to his work, later incorporating silkscreens and paint rollers. Using various media and techniques including photography, silkscreen, reproduction, overpainting, and erasing, Wool’s work often combines human and machine marks, as in his paintings in which he smudges black lines drawn with a spray gun into gray fields.
By painting layer upon layer of whites and off-whites over screen-printed elements used in previous works—monochrome forms taken from reproductions, enlargements of details of photographs, screens and Polaroids of his own paintings—he accretes the surface of his pressurized paintings while voiding their very substance. Throughout his diverse practice, artist transposes elements from mass culture, such as print media, advertising, music and film, as a means to create a collision between the media of paint and print. The complex technique that Wool uses encourages the viewer to reflect on the physical qualities of paint, reproduction and to be aware of painting procedures and the essential elements of the medium: form, line and color.
Christopher Wool has been named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (1989), served as a DAAD Berlin Artist-in-Residence (1992), and received the Wolfgang Hahn Prize (2010), he was honored with amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS.
The work by Christopher Wool has been exhibited at numerous institutions around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.