Imperfection and Found Objects
By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor
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William Vollers’s website is a reflection of his artistic vision of less is more—few words as necessary to direct the viewer and five images of work that represent how he categorizes his assemblages: Free Standing, Table Top, Wall Hangings, Collages, and Digital. Click an image to reveal representative samples.
His artistry explores the passage of time and the human relationship to nature based on the wabi-sabi aesthetic, which is a concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Characteristics of wabi-sabi include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, austerity, and appreciation of the integrity of natural objects and processes.
Vollers, whose work appears in WTP Vol. IV #1, began years ago as a collector of antique toys, memorabilia, old farm tools, and household objects. Throughout his career as a graphic designer and art director, he developed a keen sense of the design qualities of these objects. It was only a mater of time before he began taking some apart and reassembling them as sculptural stories.
“Seedlings” illustrates balance, harmony, and an appreciation of the relationship of forms. Three different pieces of found wood combined with three wooden balls and a cluster of nails reflect foundation, gestation, and the beginnings of growth.
Wabi-sabi is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence—impermanence, suffering, and the absence of self-nature. A found tree limb, weathered and fractured by time and resembling a human bone, becomes a symbol of pain and endurance by the addition of an old hand-forged rusty nail in “May You Be Free of Pain”:
“Out Reach” displays a composition of simply three elements. A dramatic breakaway reaching line of one element defies gravity, yet is balanced in a harmonious relationship with its other two parts. The slight curve at the end of the reaching line suggests it might continue in another direction, but leaves it to the viewer to imagine it s fate. It’s this economy of means that sets Vollers’s imagery apart.
In addition to his wood and metal objets trouvés, Vollers continues to produce digital imagery. These works are frequently found objects that are scanned and re-composed in Photoshop with an emphasis on their two-dimensional graphic qualities. “Conversation” encompasses two pieces of wood, handwriting from an old letter, and hand-forged spikes or nails. The handwriting connects time and possible place to the work’s personality.
William Vollers has embraced this aesthetic using mostly found objects, which are often the detritus of our modern world. He states: “My guiding principles are balance, appreciation of form, color, and texture, and the essence and respect for the material itself.”
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