My name is V.F. Wolf and I am a mixed-media painter who currently maintains a studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. I am employed as a night watchman and guard at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. I was an officer in the regular Army and Army Reserve from 2000-2007 and have traveled extensively throughout the United States and lived in Egypt for a time. I received my Bachelor's degree in Art History (2007) and a Bachelors of Fine Art in painting (2011) from Rhode Island College. In addition, I received my Masters of Fine Art from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (2013). I also received a Certificate in Painting Studies (two-year program) from Rhode Island School of Design (2018).
I paint highly textured/ impasto mixed media abstracted grotesque mask-like faces and figures. My works are often a combination of both painting and sculpture. Through my art I wish to analyze the shadow/darkness present in every society. I feel in many ways my work addresses the absurd and random nature of life itself.
I use my early adult life in the military to speak on this issue. My work acts as a mirror of the world where the grotesque and distorted appearances of the faces/ figures captures my disgust and indignation in the face of the abuse of power and corruption of authority.
I may start out with a specific memory; but it is ultimately shaped through the process of moving paint and materials around the support. I will often throw, slash, squeegee, and splatter various types of paint directly onto the wood panel or canvas. As a result of this physicality in the making of the images, I feel that I am going into battle with it. I often want to beat the image into the very fiber of the canvas, burlap, or panel.
My inspirations include: The work of Jean Dubuffet, Antoni Tapies, Robert Rauschenberg, Byzantine Art and Arte Povera. Also, the philosophy of Albert Camus and my time spent in Egypt with the military.
I use my military experience as source material only. I would never do a direct illustration of my military experience, that's not universal enough. But instead as something to pull more universal themes from. I feel the military was my first art school for it taught me a lot about discipline and the daily practice of routine. But, that's where it ends for me, I am not a military/combat recorder of any type, but instead I am someone who uses his life experience as source material.
With this stated, I find it a crucial part of my practice to distance myself from whatever subject matter I’m portraying or else it becomes too much of a personal story. I’m after a wider context than that, I look to internalize a sense of universal/collective experience. The end product of the abstraction acts as a filter to keep my work from becoming too autobiographical.
It is this filtered residue that is a more concentrated form of my life, getting away from the personal to a place that is more universal.
Secondly, I create visual narratives using my personal archive of newspaper and magazine clippings and photographs of family and friends. I create hybrids or compositions based upon this source material. The new identities of my subjects thus becomes anonymous and open to new meanings.