Heather van Wolf’s architectonic works on paper incorporate the written word with highly detailed line drawing. Cityscape, landscape and architectural portraiture are her primary subjects.
Charged with a kinetic energy rooted in the contemporary urban landscape, her work has a post-postmodernist sensibility. She integrates a multiplicity of fields in her work and draws influence from classical figures Da Vinci, Piranesi, and Dore’.
The works on paper are extemporaneous movements created on location with no under-drawing. The compositional elements form a delicate fusion of forethought, structure and craft, which lead the eye through a detailed linguistic maze. Extensive research and planning precede the execution of the piece, while the hand-rendered line delivers an expressive and unforgiving honesty.
Her aim at achieving a near-objective reality of subject matter fraught with dualities is a challenge requiring careful planning and structure.
We are taught to exclude elements which present ironies and simplify. My primary subject, the cityscape cannot be distilled into such elemental lines without losing it’s chaotic and compelling complexity.
Van Wolf’s work exhibits a unique relationship with perspective. If clearly visible during execution, objects near and far are rendered with considerable detail. Rather than being forced into abstraction or deletion, elements in the far distance are composed chiefly of the written word. The writing is direct uncensored prose, which is compellingly honest.
I include the interior dialogue to capture the entirety of the subject; it’s environment, it’s place in time and my experience of it. Though my aim is objectivity, as a human being I can never fully divorce myself of my point of view. The fusion of writing and image is the only way to be truly honest to the subject. I must also uncover any hidden motivations, thoughts and prejudice which otherwise could effect the integrity of the work. I seek an absolute truth in art.
Examining and then resurrecting metropoli on paper is an act of curiosity, acceptance and appreciation.
The landscape of our world is the dramatic counterpoint to daily life. Our cities are social organisms providing an intimate view of our strengths, limitations and motivations. My focus on the cityscape is an effort to gain insight into what drives us, brings us together, and divides us as human beings. Our cities tell these stories elegantly.
The passion for deconstructing these ever-changing urban forests is shared by artists, cartographers, philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists throughout history.
The juxtaposition of converse elements is a common thread. Midtown Warehouse exemplifies some of the more obvious dualities evident in New York. Two structures subsist side-by-side, members of dissimilar worlds yet sharing one wall. Paris View from a Rooftop’s landscape is composed of a controversial history scripted into the hills beyond the Moulin Rouge.
The cityscape collection includes nautical studies. Water is the lifeblood of every conurbation, thus is examined in great detail. This multifarious relationship is explored in a number of works including Sail Manhattan and Lady Liberty after the Fall.
The city as a safe harbor can be the ultimate metaphor for the most noble of human causes and also of lesser pursuits. The history of mankind’s worldly explorations and exploitations rely almost entirely on suitable anchorage.
Intrepid and Around Alone represents the preciousness of freedom and it’s protector. Around Alone (renamed Velux 5 Oceans Race) is a race to circumnavigate the world on a single-handed sailboat. Shortly after the Sept 11th attacks in New York City the sailors shared birth with the aircraft carrier museum Intrepid. The brilliant juxtaposition of a single man on a sailboat in the shadow of a colossal war ship was compelling.
Conversely, Dark Towers is a commentary on the awesome achievements by man, which can become an oppressive force. The looming structures were built along on the East River where corrupt profiteers unloaded their wares during the colonial era.
Our great cities are so rich and multifaceted. Within the hidden complexities are messages that can teach us how to live. Studying these cities, and then recording them inspires hope for a rehabilitated tomorrow.
All works on this site are protected © van Wolf 2000-2013 http://www.vanwolf.com