Visions West Contemporary is pleased to announce a solo exhibition, American Illuminations, of works by Willem Volkersz. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 7, 6:00-8:00 pm. The exhibition will continue until October 13, 2018.
As a teen, Dutch born Volkersz traveled the mid 20th century American West with camera in hand. He documented the unfamiliar yet vibrant landscape and culture of the time; billboards, architecture, and decorated yards. Over time, Volkersz’ fascination with pop culture grew as he was drawn to the larger than life advertising figures, neon signs, postcards and travel souvenirs.
Among the works being shown, is Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…, a characteristic mixed medium sculpture incorporating the elements for which Volkersz is known. Using vintage porcelain figurines and a painted backdrop of the Statue of Liberty, the artist touches on the immigrant nature of the United States utilizing found objects that contribute to American iconography. The additional pieces in the exhibition employ painting, neon lighting and found objects.
Many of Volkersz’ works were created in response to the artists own personal experiences. These include World War II, his emigration to the United States as a teenager, travel, and his family roles. These experiences and influences became the source for his art.
Willem Volkersz is formally trained in painting. He holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MFA from Mills College. While in graduate school he started incorporating neon and handcrafted objects. He taught art from 1967 until 2001. While teaching at Montana State University he was awarded James & Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence, Montana State University, 1999 as well as the Charles and Nora Wiley Research Award, MSU, 1998 and The Fridley Award for Distinguished Teaching, MSU, 1996. His writings on art have been published extensively. He has been exhibiting in solo shows since 1970. He last had a show at Visions West Contemporary in 2014.