A public garden & cultural center

Nick Lamia


Prickly, Tender and Steamy: Artists in the Hothouse 
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–May 18, 2014 

 Pictured Above: Conophytum, Wave Hill, 2014, graphite on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Nick Lamia’s paintings and installations resemble fragmented maps of imagined sites where nature, society and technology intersect. For this exhibition, the artist created an installation under the Glyndor Gallery stairwell that combines painting, drawing and sculptural elements inspired by the organic and structural elements of Wave Hill’s greenhouses. During his time in the Winter Workspace in 2012, Lamia departed from his abstract work by creating highly detailed representational drawings in graphite that depicted trees and plants found throughout the garden. For this exhibition, he has included new drawings of plants in the greenhouse.

I studied biology and taught ecology before devoting myself to art. The interdependence of society and the natural world is still one of my primary interests, and I am constantly on the lookout for examples of overlaps between man and nature that I can explore in my artwork. A greenhouse is ideal in this sense—a man-made structure containing small portions of the natural world. The greenhouse depends on the presence of the plants to fulfill its role as a place of study and reverence, and the plants depend on the greenhouse and the people who are responsible for it for their survival.

The succulents especially intrigue me. They are such survivors! Thriving under harsh conditions, conserving moisture in incredible ways, some blending invisibly into their surroundings—I will risk over-anthropomorphizing and say that I am inspired by their incredible patience. Spending time with the cacti reminds me how important their characteristics—perseverance, toughness and adaptability—are to me. I hope my drawings will reflect those traits and inspire the people who see them. The epiphytes stood out as well. Their ability to survive on what seems like nothing at all is remarkable. The many small but hardy species in and around the Alpine House are impressive, too.

—Nick Lamia

Nick Lamia’s work has been featured in exhibitions at Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, NY; ArtSpace, New Haven, CT; Exit Art, New York, NY; Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY; Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME; and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. He participated in the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program and exhibited in Bronx Calling: The First AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum. Lamia also participated in residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Triangle Artist’s Workshop. Recent fellowships include a Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received a BA in Environmental Science at the University of California, Berkeley; he studied painting at the New York Studio School and received an MFA in Painting at Boston University.

Agave, Wave Hill, 2014, graphite on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Cleistocactus, Wave Hill, 2014, graphite on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Unknown Cactus, Wave Hill, 2014, graphite on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace 2012
Glyndor Gallery | January 3 – March 25, 2012

 Nick Lamia sketching on Wave Hill’s grounds, 2012. Photo credit Joshua Bright.

Click here for more information about the artist.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.