Dordt College News

‘Landed Angels’ exhibit features Van Wyk art

January 4, 2005

Jacob Van Wyk has never seen angels, but as an artist he’s ready to share his image of them in a “Landed Angels” exhibit, on display at the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery from Jan. 13-31, beginning with an artist reception Thursday, Jan. 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Landed Angels

Van Wyk is an accomplished potter and stone lithography printmaker who will showcase ceramic sculpture and oil painting for this exhibit, accompanied by multi-colored lithographies and etchings. Also on display will be an unusual six foot tile wall piece, which is a blend of wheel and handbuilt construction and incorporates both abstract and classical figures.

A professor of art at Dordt College, this past spring Van Wyk took a sabbatical leave to devote himself to this exhibit, which includes a trio of nearly three-foot high angelic sculptures. But be forewarned: these are not your typical angels.

“Art is about putting yourself out there and taking risks,” says Van Wyk. Each piece he has created began with research, prep work, and then the process of concept and discovery. The artist said some of his pieces were titled before he began, some after, and still others were not given a title.

“Avenging Angel” is an example of the former. Van Wyk said he began with the concept of a seraphim, an angel that the Bible describes as bringing God’s judgement. The physical form is powerful and athletic, with Van Wyk manipulating its form to create tension and mystery. Another piece, “Submission,” is a metaphor for life and the physical and emotional struggles one endures. Each of the ceramic sculptures took 30-40 hours to construct, followed by critical waiting time and two firings in a kiln.

Also in the exhibit are pieces from Van Wyk’s “Angel Eyes” series of oil paintings. These pieces explore the mystery of being created in God’s image, and His connection with the world around us. Other works in the exhibit include oil landscapes, which display a post-impressionistic and expressionistic style of bright color work and the sweeping style of gestural paint application.

Van Wyk has been an art professor at Dordt College since 1991. An outdoor courtyard on Dordt’s campus features Van Wyk’s larger than life sculpture, “The Gift,” created about 10 years ago. That endeavor required over 750 man hours and was sculpted from roughly 3,800 pounds of clay. The lone figure with hands raised to the sky symbolizes a college and community of people who are dedicated to praising God and celebrating life, along with many other secondary metaphors.

There are currently 73 art majors enrolled at Dordt College, making it the fifth largest department on campus. Students pursuing art degrees choose from four career tracks, fine arts studio, graphic design, art history or teaching art.

The Dordt College Campus Art Gallery is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The artist reception honoring Van Wyk will be Thursday, Jan. 13, from 6:30-8 p.m., with the artist presenting a gallery talk at 7 p.m.

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