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Working With The Wood Whisperer

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    Tye Van Horn '16 poses with Vicco von Voss art piece.

Location: Kohl Gallery

September 11, 2014
A reflection upon the Kohl Gallery’s Vicco von Voss exhibition from the perspective of one of the interns who helped install it.

Upon receiving my internship at the Kohl Gallery, I found to my delight that on the very first day I would be working with a great artist, specifically the famed craftsman Vicco von Voss. Even though I arrived early I found that he had shown up even before I did, and had already been hard at work for quite some time. It was this amount of dedication that I quickly would find to be the norm with a man who had been called “The Wood Whisperer.” 

He immediately had the entire gallery staff working hard on a diverse array of tasks, from piecing together complicated pieces of art that had to be assembled on the scene, to more methodical minutiae like making sure the walls and floors were spotless and smooth. Each instruction was provided with the confidence of a leader and the precision of a pedant, while not shying away from participating in the manual labor himself. Von Voss was right there with us as we erected massive support beams in order to frame the door he built to serve as a portal to the main section filled with his most unique work. The level of perfectionism necessary in order to enter into such a field became apparent as he triple-checked that everything was perfectly level and used a ladder to eradicate practically invisible pencil marks on the ceiling.

The sense of placement and perspective was tantamount, and von Voss rearranged rooms sometimes three or four times until every object directed the flow of the room in a way he found worthy of his high standards. All the while, he told us the stories and background of all of his art, a treat unto itself. Von Voss imparted to us that the multiple iterations of the flowing tendrils that created the appearance of a root system were carved and shaped to make a simple writing desk appear as an organic being. He showed us that other pieces are built so specifically that even their shadows are meant to be part of the whole. It was hard not to get caught up in the mystique of hearing about a rich life full of experiences few have had. There was no deeper sense of satisfaction than seeing all of the individual pieces of art come together to create a unified whole, and this was compounded by the honor of working with such a talented artist.

On opening night, despite the fact that it was all thanks to Vicco von Voss and his amazing artistic talent that the gallery looked as amazing as it did, I couldn’t help feeling pride upon hearing compliments towards the breathtaking exhibit. It may not have been my art or my name on the posters outside the gallery, but still I felt like a part of something great, and that was worth every second.


Last modified on Sep. 11th, 2014 at 4:26pm by CRM Lindsay Bergman.