The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has unveiled a new exhibit, William Wolk: Dance Series, in the Balcony Gallery of the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The free exhibit will remain on display through June 1. The public is invited to attend.
Wolk has been The Greenbrier Resort’s artist-in-residence since 1984. His gallery there, The William Wolk Gallery of Fine Art, exclusively features his realistic paintings and drawings. Ananda Hill in Ronceverte is the artist’s home and working studio.
Wolk is a native of Miami, Fla., who exhibited a fascination for drawing at a very early age. By age eight, he was drawing charcoal portraits free hand and at nine, he had acquired his first oil painting set and easel. His first professional exhibit was at age 16 in the first annual Coconut Grove Art Festival where, from his street display, he sold his first nine paintings.
When he was 17, Wolk spent one year studying drawing at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. He met his mentor there, Fiore Custode, who told him in 1969 to leave America and go to Florence, Italy, to study painting.
It was Custode’s opinion that the American art scene of 1970 would not nurture a realistic artist, whereas Florence had become a haven for young American and European artists wanting to learn classical realism painting techniques. Wolk spent a year in Florence in self-study, surrounded and inspired by the public statuary, architectural friezes, frescos, murals and paintings which have made the city famous. When he returned to the United States, he had his first one-man show in Coral Gables, Fla. at the age of 19.
Since then, Wolk has had one-man shows at the Lincoln Center Gallery at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City; Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Harkness House Gallery, New York City; The Tatem Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The David Gary Gallery, Short Hills, N.J.; The RJK Gallery, Atlanta, Ga.; and the Collectors Cove Gallery, Atlanta, Ga., among others. Two books about him and his work have been published, William Wolk: Paintings, by Jamal Press in 1994 and William Wolk: Fine Art at The Greenbrier by Ananda Hill Press in 2006.
The show consists of 11 paintings from Wolk’s dance series. In William Wolk: Fine Art at The Greenbrier, Wolk says “Dancers are wonderful to portray in action, full of strength. In repose they are graceful and elegant. What more could a figure painter want?” The show was timed to coincide with the Division’s West Virginia Dance Festival which will take place April 25 - 27.
For more information about the William Wolk exhibit, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Media Note: William Wolk can be reached through his gallery at (800) 268-3490.