By Pamela Pyms
What better way to celebrate one’s 88th birthday than with a solo exhibition and reception at the Tracey Morgan Gallery? Gerald van de Wiele, in his seventh decade of making art, will return to Asheville with his most recent work on Friday, January 10, from 6-8 p.m.
Van de Weile studied art and poetry at the famed Black Mountain College in the 1950s. This is his first exhibition following a major retrospective at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in 2018. “I was instantly struck with his ability to create beautiful abstractions as well as perfectly rendered landscapes,” says Morgan. “I was also impressed with his carved wood sculptures and frames. It is always a thrill to come across an artist that can produce master cross-disciplines of acrylic, watercolor and sculpture.” His work has been archived over the decades in nearly every major survey focused on the history of the experimental school.
What strikes Morgan as most interesting about van de Wiele’s art is that he has developed an independent style through a romantic, often fantastic interpretation of nature. Recent watercolors painted during van de Wiele’s summer stays in Hoosick Falls, NY are the focus of the exhibition. “There is a pulse-rhythm to the natural world as he captures the textures of the landscape particular to the region south of the Adirondacks—the weaving of waterfalls, jagged formations of the hills and twisting of rooted trees with their coarse patterned bark,” says Morgan.
As van de Wiele himself states, “A greater simplicity both of subject matter and techniques was my objective in these works. Nature conjoined with abstraction. Their apposition opens new possibilities to me, like the gestural watercolors of dancers by Rodin next to his physically powerful sculptures, each medium urging the other to be seen differently.”
The exhibition will run through February 21. “I am excited to be able to present these works together on his 88th birthday,” says Morgan.