James Wines: Nature’s Revenge

Opening: Friday, Jan 6, 2023 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Jan 6 – Feb 11, 2023

1711 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

"Global warming and the future of the environment are still major issues today, and Nature’s Revenge is a response to the over-built world. Considering the complex definitions for the word ‘nature’ - now increased to include social, political, psychological, functional and ecological associations - the drawings represent an effort to comment on various aspects of meaning. Most of these graphic works come from my 2021 retrospective at the Tchoban Museum in Berlin. This earlier show emphasized nature in terms of the architectural absorption of such green elements as vegetation and topography, as well as energy-conscious uses of materials in construction. Nature’s Revenge expands on these ideas by including some buildings, public spaces, objects and posters that constitute critical and/or sardonic viewpoints on a variety of environmental aberrations. A portion of this exhibition reflects my larger commitment to what I call ‘economy of means’ as an alternative to the past fifty years of excessively expensive and environmentally irresponsible architectural scale and fossil fuel demands. Fundamentally, I believe that the ‘art of architecture’ is not embodied in lavish and prescriptive formal strategies; but, instead, in simpler, smaller and idea-based structures that ask questions. In summary, economy of means is my objective, while critical commentary is the message." - James Wines

In 1970, following extensive work in public sculpture and environmental art, James Wines founded SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) with the intention of expanding Green-design and creating new models of architecture through the hybridization of art, architecture, and design. Drawing early influence from artists and architects such as Vito Acconci, Alice Aycock, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Smithson, Haus Rucker, and many others, SITE considers buildings and their surroundings not as isolated objects in an environment, but as the environment itself. As such, Wines’ drawings include elements of existing structures, cultural and religious references, and local typography to advocate for an architecture that is mutable, fragmentary, and challenges formal design conventions.

James Wines is an architectural designer, artist, and writer, with a multidisciplinary practice that includes buildings, public spaces, environmental art works, landscapes, master plans, interiors, video productions, graphics, and product designs. Educated at Syracuse University, he is the founder (in 1970) of SITE, a New York City based architecture practice. As the firm’s continuing President, he has designed and built more than one hundred and fifty architecture and environmental art projects in the USA, Italy, France, England, Austria, Spain, Qatar, and Japan. Professor Wines has delivered lectures at more than eight hundred colleges, universities, and professional conferences in fifty nine countries and written three books on architecture - including the latest,  for Taschen Verlag Publishers in 2000. During the past decade, there have been twenty-two monographic books and museum catalogues produced on his projects for private, commercial, and municipal clients. Winner of twenty-five art and design awards, including the Smithsonian’s 2013 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 1995 Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, James Wines was honored in 2002 by a large retrospective exhibition at the Centre FRAC in France - jointly sponsored by Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Musée des Beaux Arts in Orleans. His graphic work has been exhibited in more than one hundred and fifty museums and galleries in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Drawings and models can be found in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, Centre Pompidou, the Louvre, Victoria and Albert Museum, Australian National Gallery, Tokyo National Gallery, and others. A recent retrospective of his drawings for SITE was exhibited at the Tchoban Museum in Berlin during 2021. Professor Wines lives in the Battery Park area of New York City. He continues to work on art and design projects, research environmental issues in architecture and write for publications internationally.

JAMES WINES, Nature’s Revenge: NYC 2050 - View from Lower East Side, 2022, Ink and wash drawing, 12 x 18 inches