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 am concerned with painting as object that reflects the darker/primitive side of mankind. Thus, many of my works are on the smaller side or what I call "fragments". I want the viewer to be able to feel as if they want to hold the works in their hands, like a votive object. My paintings are created through the process of actively manipulating the oil paint and or other types of paints and materials, over a textured surface, usually on blocks of wood or panels typically placed in a frame of my choosing. Layers are built up by overlapping and using violent strokes thus, creating various densities and textures. The palette is mostly confined to a minimal amount of muted colors. Occasionally, a bright color pops out of the thick and impasto ground. One can witness traces of color buried beneath, suggesting the passage of time. Like memories, paint layers are built one on top of the other, until the right combination is reached in my mind. Then and only then I feel the painting is done. My work will often be figurative, abstract or a combination of both. My activation of various materials, surfaces, and techniques reflects my interest in combining the sensibilities of painting and sculpture.
I feel this interplay of the conceptual versus the tactile/physical qualities of the paintings; helps to convey my message of painting as (a thought provoking object) to the viewer in a more concrete way. I also feel this approach to painting allows the onlooker to use their own imagination to fill in the narrative.
My inspirations include: The work of Antoni Tapies, Byzantine Art, Art Brut, 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.