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Equality - Diversity - Community

Vol. III Issue 6 Spring 2002

  StoneWall Society GLBT Artists
Visual Arts Review
Michael Wilk

Artist Michael holding his "Gaslight" painting and link to his website.

The Michael Wilk Gallery

Paintings and Drawings of Cinematic and Personal Imagery
Review By: Len

       The only thing better than the online gallery of artist Michael Wilk, (pictured left holding "Gaslight"), would be to see the work live, in person. Being a cinema fan, his sight was very much to my interest, and liking. His various works on the movie horror genre are outstanding. His "Katia", (Barbara Steele) is awesome and a wonderful work of art.  If horror is not your genre then there are real life objects d'art in the form of portraits, life scenes, legends, and some very good humor.

     Wilk's use of color and shadows to emphasize his creations mood is striking in skill and delivery. He manages to capture that elusive "soul" which brings his art to life. A variety of influence may be seen throughout his exhibit.  Including but not limited to; Picasso, Van Gogh, Escher, and 

 Dali to name just a few. However make no mistake these are just influences, the work is original and best described as Wilk.

     Let us begin with some of his movie images. Of course I will start with his "Charlotte" Vale that is, of the Boston Vales. Bette Davis in ""Now Voyager". This portrait is taken from a major scene in which Charlotte is transformed from Crazy Aunt Charlotte into this vision. In the scene the shot starts at Charlotte's feet and slowly pans up stopping at the view shown in Wilk's work. The rendering is excellent and captures the tentative, mysterious, and unsteady mental state of the character. Oil on Canvas 14" X 11" "Charlotte" Copyright Michael Wilk and link to his website
"Nicholas" Copyright Michael Wilk   Link to his website.      It's not just the ladies of the silver screen which inspire Michael Wilk. Pictured left is "Nicholas" of course Vincent Price in  "The Pit And The Pendulum", playing Nicholas Medina. The fear in Nicholas' face comes from more than one area. Fear of insanity, premature burial, and eternal damnation all hound this driven character. Once again Michael has captured that fear, the sense of dread which Price brought so richly brought to his role. That arched brow, the tight lipped nervous mouth, the glaring eyes. All true representations of the character. 
Pencil on Illustration Board 12" X 16"

     The classic Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman "Gaslight" is the subject here. More to the point, Ingrid as Paula Alquist the tormented object of Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). Notice the distraught and solemn look of Bergman. Her character is being driven to doubt her sanity by her reprehensible husband, Gregory Anton. Gaslighting someone is actually an accepted psychiatric term, based on the movie and preceding play "Angel Street". Wilk has succeeded in bringing Bergman's characterization to life in his painting. Once again capturing the emotions of the great actress.
Acrylic on Illustration Board 12" X 15"

"Gaslight" Copyright Michael Wilk   and a link to his website.
"I Walked With A Zombie" Copyright Michael Wilk and a link to his website.

    In Michael Wilk's "I Walked With A Zombie"  we see Wilk's rendering of the "night walk" where central character Nurse Betsy takes the "zombie" wife of her employer to the Houmfort (where the Voodoo rituals take place), to see what the voodoo practitioners might be able to achieve after medical science has failed. Eerily filmed with dark shadows, intense music, and implied horror. Actually the film was named by RKO who wanted to compete with another studio's success in the horror genre. The film is actually a reworking of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre". Wilk has done an excellent job of capturing the feel and strangeness of the film. 
Acrylic on Illustration Board 8" X 11"

     "Robert" to the right moves us into another Michael Wilk genre. I am not sure whether Michael was painting what he saw or what he felt here. I sense a loneliness, empty type feel. The use of color to set tone and mood is reminiscent of both Van Gogh and Picasso. The contradictions of a handsome young man in this setting sets up some interesting possibilities. Key marked by the look on Robert's face. Excellent! 
Oil on Canvas 30" X 40"

"Robert" Copyright Michael Wilk    Link to his website.
"Nancy" Copyright Michael Wilk   And a link to his website.

     In contrast to "Robert" above, "Nancy" has more vibrant bright feel. Brought about again by color, lights and shadows. The photographic qualities of clarity are an obvious confirmation of Michael Wilk's wonderful talent. The character has life and at any moment could move from her perch. Very fluid and a strong sense of realism. 
Oil on Canvas 18" X 24"

     This piece, "RonW" is a fantastic showing of Michael Wilk's ability with portraiture. The expression, lighting, and again color set the tone. Moody and seemingly deep in thought, "RonW" is an example of the Wilk's attention to detail. Notice the movement in his hair, eyes, and the pouting lips. 
Oil on Canvas 18" X 14"

"RonW" Copyright Michael Wilk    Link to his website.
"Self Portrait 1979" Copyright Michael Wilk   Link to his website

"Self Portrait 1979"
Oil on Canvas 18" X 24"

     Here we have Michael Wilk as he sees himself. Another "Surrealist Self Portrait" is shown on Michael's website gallery. All three show different stages of the artist's focus and growth. In the same fashion they state very different things about the artist. Notice in the work to the left the room and furnishings. Especially the Davis above the mirror and objects on the dresser.

    In the work on the right the artist seems more settled. Notice the obvious lack of decoration from the first self portrait in 1979.

"Self Portrait 1986" Copyright Michael Wilk   Link to his website.

"Self Portrait 1986"
Acrylic on Illustration Board 16" X 22"

     Pictured to the right is David on left, (Michaels long time partner) and Michael at a Renaissance Faire. Michael's other passions would include his dogs, his community, and from I have learned his friends. A forthright person who is warm and upfront in his approach to people. A giving artist who delights his friends with his art. Just ask pal Sun about "Shoe Box Face" or "Tweety Moline". Both excellent caricatures of Joan Crawford and her severe look during the 1950's, and Bette Davis in "Beyond The Forest" respectively. As well these two show the sense of humor in his art. Take the time to take a leisurely visit with Michael and his work, proudly hosted by Sun. I understand that there may be some very interesting "Karloff" work on site soon. You will enjoy his art and like myself be amazed at the talent! The works included here are just a sampling much more is available at Michael's Online Gallery! David and Michael  Copyright Michael Wilk   Link to his website.

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