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Nick Wall was born in Paihiatua in 1973 and graduated from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Painting. Mentored by Max Gimblett in New York and Auckland, Wall's work takes its cue from mid-20th Century US Abstract Expressionism, though his use of stylised and often geometric compositional motifs combined with a self-reflective emphasis on painterly qualities and application lends his work an air of introspection and spirituality, as opposed to the extroverted and often ego-centric works of some of the original movement's US exponents.
Like Gimblett, Wall favours the intensity of spontaneous and often dramatic mark making and the application of paint in such a way as to exacerbate its physical properties and the very act of its application. However, Wall's interest in the dramatic act of painting is tempered by his attention to the idea of balance (both spiritual and compositional) drawn from attributes of Zen and other Asiatic spiritual movements, faiths and philosophies.
While consciously minimal in outlook, Wall's works often employ stylistic motifs drawn from these philosophies and designed to reiterate the sense of equilibrium that they evoke. Wall's use of 'sacred geometry' (square, circle and triangle motifs) gives his work the compositional basis to engage in the dramatic or the subtle act of expressionism while simultaneously lending credence to the belief that a higher plane of consciousness can be achieved through aesthetic contemplation. As Wall explains, "I am trying to produce works that people can immerse themselves in. I have always felt my paintings have a diagrammatic quality, which helps illustrate my spiritual understandings and allows a journey to be taken by removing discursive elements, leaving calmer, more contemplative imagistic qualities achieved through diaphanous glazing".
Wall has participated in numerous national and international group exhibitions and has shown consistently in Auckland since his graduation in 2000. He has been nominated as a finalist in the Wallace Trust Art Awards over four consecutive seasons (2000-2004) and was the 1999 winner of the prestigious Nokia New Zealand Art Award.