We meet fine artist Georg Meyer-Wiel and discover how nature influences the dynamic range of artwork he creates.
How did you get into art?
My entire family background is artistic, my father is an architect and my mother is a graphic designer and land artist. When I was young she had an art school at our house where she would teach children from the neighbourhood different art techniques. That is how I got into it, naturally, they fostered it throughout my life and whatever I did they supported it. My first memories of it are of being in distant countries on a mountain top with my mother and her teaching me how to draw mountain villages in proportion; it was very nice.
Where are you from?
I’m from Germany, but these mountains would have been the Rockies or somewhere in southern Europe.
Did art always seem like the logical step forward as you grew up?
Yes, I feel like I have always wanted to do art although it has not always been a decision. A decision you can make when you have options, for me there was no other option. It was a destination, a calling.
I am hugely fascinated by the natural world, natural forms inspire my work immensely and many things that I do… most things I do actually. Throughout most of my life I toyed with the idea of doing something with biology, but it was all too scientific and I don’t see myself in that genre. I even wrote some scientific papers, but I always felt that with art there was nothing that could stop me.
What gives you the most satisfaction about being an artist?
That’s a good question. The biggest satisfaction is when I have created something and I see the result come to life i.e. when it becomes part of the real world. I’m not just working as an artist, I also work as a designer of costume and stage for contemporary ballet and dance. When a production comes on and I have been working for half a year on getting everything together, the sets and costumes, styling and make up, or when I have an exhibition and the drawings and paintings are on the wall that is hugely satisfying. When it becomes something of the world around us and something that people can experience.
You use many materials in your work, why do you choose this mixed media approach to painting?
I find it really interesting to work with textures. I am a texture fetishist, I love looking at them, am always inspired by them and I love to recreate them. I like working with matter, so I like to have it on the canvas as well. It is very difficult to do that in drawings. In drawings also I like to work with different media and mix them but it tends to be quite flat no matter what you do. With painting you can do it with other materials and fillers such as wood, feathers and cardboard, you can put it all on. I love that about painting, that you can go 3D.
I suppose there is not so much of a barrier between painting and sculpture in that respect.
I wish there was less of a barrier. I wish they would be even more sculptural.
You will be showing some of your bird paintings in the Winter Exhibition. On your website you say “In my flight paintings I like to capture the dream of flight, a dream as old as mankind.” How would you open up on that?
I guess that is just a dream that man has had throughout any age, time and culture. It is symbolic because it represents leaving everything that pulls us back down to earth. With that I mean all the sorrow and struggles we experience on a daily basis and that you have to go through in life. Leave all that behind, be light and just fly away. We dream about that naturally, so I like that as a subject, paired with the fact that I am absolutely obsessed with birds. When I was young I had loads of different birds in aviaries. I bred loads of finches, thrushes and loads of other species. Later on I learnt taxidermy and got into that which has also influenced my drawings and studies of birds and anything that flies really; insects and bats you name it.
Where do you see your art going? Do you find it a continuous evolution?
I am moving between subjects and I have come to realise that I just need to do parallel practices. I have phases where I do semi-abstract birds in flight, although these paintings that you mentioned earlier are almost abstract because of the overlapping and they are merged like a cloud or sky made out of feathered creatures. Then I’ll be doing something completely abstract. At the moment I am working on a series of paintings which are inspired by butterfly wings, so there is always a topic that I like to work on for long periods then when I am in a different mood I will work on a different series. I am working on at least five different subjects which are: Orbit, which is views of space and constellations, then Terra, which is views of earth from above, and I will be showing some of those paintings in the Winter Exhibition. Then the movement of birds and flight as a subject. Another is artworks with the subject of the male figure. Finally, I make use of actual feathers and materials and semi-abstract things. It really depends what mood I am in.
And that enables you to keep the excitement in your practice and keep it fresh?
Yes, I really like to work on different things and a lot of things just need their time and a long consideration. I work with really lengthy processes. When I work with metals they need to corrode and be built up in layers. Some paintings take up to two years to make and in the meantime they just sit there for months and I don’t touch them because I don’t feel like I am getting it right, until the moment comes and I work on them again. An impulse will come one by finding a butterfly wing on the floor or something then, I will think ah! I know what to do with this artwork.
Georg Meyer-Wiel shall be exhibiting paintings from his flight series and his Terra series in our Winter Exhibition.
To attend the private view on Tuesday 12th December please click here.