Willy Verginer's half-dipped, wooden sculptures create a visual contrast that highlight environmental issues at the hands of human manifest destiny. Verginer's work plays off human innocence and the ensuing corruption, while examining our effects on nature at the hands of moral shortfalls. The Italian sculptor's contemplative and dynamic work is currently on display at the Wasserman Projects in Detroit.
Verginer sculpts his pieces using locally grown wood, while finishing with a strategic placement of paint. By using a dark color like black paint, the artist shows depictions of environmental destruction as objects like oil begin to encroach on a beautiful but tragically unaware deer. Verginer only uses color in specific portions of the sculptures, creating a divide that makes the viewer contemplate each scene he sets. In one example on display at the Wasserman Projects, a young girl with a grassy-green head stands curiously with black cans at her feet, as if the shadow of conscious wrongdoing is beginning to lure and entrap another innocent mind.
This combination of paint and sculpting is a blend of two styles he learned while studying art through his young adulthood, having studied painting from the age of 14 before honing a wood-making craft as an understudy with other artists throughout his late teens and early 20s. The Italian native grew up near the Dolomite mountains, which had an early influence on the way he perceived nature.
"The nature is very strong," Verginer says of his surroundings. "This influences me very much. I think the environment is a very strong issue, for the next generation and for all future generations." To illustrate such issues, Verginer's work creates visual scenes that depict human beings' destructive or outright greedy use of the natural land. The sculptor uses recognizable figures to create unrecognizable scenarios, in some scenes, trees are sprouting from an animal's back or from the bottom of a human being's feet, while in others miniature houses hang from the balance of the tree from which it once came.
The artist's trademark remains his sparing use of color. Verginer tells Creators that color is not a primary character within each piece, but a catalyst. Verginer says it's something that creates conflict between the subjects of each piece and that the color is a point of the sculpture where "a tension arises."
Take Verginer's sculpture of a deer drinking from an oil barrel. By utilizing the painted divide of a jet black color on the oil barrels which stretches onto the deer's bowed head, Verginer creates a focal point for the viewer's perception. He is creating a statement on human manufacturing and its cause and effect relationship with the well-being of the natural world. In other works, the artist shows young children in the midst of falling out of touch with the environment, as he uses tree branches erupting from their bodies to highlight their shared roots, while a dark hood of ignorance begins to overshadow the face. Verginer works to capture the viewer's attention to their natural surroundings by pointing out the way many inadvertently shut out nature with detrimental disinterest.
See more of Verginer's work below.
Willy Verginer's work is currently on display at the Wasserman Projects. You can find more information on the gallery here.