WOLFBAT

Untied States

Frequent See
Main Gallery
November 12th – December 10th 2016

We have admired Dennis “Wolfbat” McNett’s work for a long time. His large scale installations and hand painted wood carvings exude a powerful and metaphysical presence we are excited to experience with you.

“Frequent See” features a mix of painted wood carvings and painted wood block prints. Dennis carves into wood at varying depths and angles to produce contrast and patterns of relief. Hand painted splashes of color and bold black lines enrich and magnify the wood and his carving process. The same carving technique and mix of color translates very well to wood block printing and screen prints – Both of which we will be exhibiting as well.

From Wolfbat:
Our lives in this world are steeped in fears and distractions. I have found reprieve and clear guidance from this onslaught through prayer and meditation. In the quietude of meditation I hear answers to my questions. Images fill my mind and replace daily stresses to guide me towards the good of all things.

The works included in “Frequent See” are rooted in these answers and images. The Spirit of the East is dedicated to the change of Spring. The cycle of growth and new birth are lessons from that season. Healer Phoenix and Phoenix Guide are carvings of eagles I’ve seen during healings. The Phoenix removes ego based anchors that inhibit the true self from tuning into higher frequencies. This allows us to see a path based in love rather than fear and doubt. The three skull carvings are inspired by the words from the four directions instructing me to understand compassion, calm and awareness. The collage panels refer to instructions received from our ancestors and spirits. I have woven each message into my personal mythology to create these works of art.

“FREQUENT SEE” INSTALLATION VIEWS

Tell us a bit about your work, career, school, city, ideas, etc
I’m living in Richmond,VA after a brief stint in Houston and 13 year run in NYC. My overhead is lower and I have fewer distractions from my work having home base in Richmond. It seems I have the same routine no matter where I live. It’s always a path between home, coffee shop, hardware/art store and studio. I’ve been fortunate enough to have shows and projects that allow me to travel while hustling income. I’ve been working mostly on woodcarvings in the studio lately, but have done a couple of projects this year building sculptures and installations.

What is more important – Content or technique?
My perspective is that I find it gratifying to take care with my craft and that it’s enjoyable to have ideas or dialog with what I’m working on.

How many hours do your pieces generally take to complete?
I always say that this question is strange. I’ve carved blocks for over twenty years now and have been making things since I can remember. I guess the short answer would be a carving that is say 36×48, three separate carved layers that are die-cut and painted may take from 4-6 days/6-10hours each day depending on coffee intake, complexity of the image and distractions. A sculpture, like the one I did in Sheboygan, was a 24 ft. long 12 ft. tall lake serpent, and took almost 3 weeks.

What are some of the responses you hear in regards to your work?
That’s none of my business

What is currently influencing you that might surprise people?
For people that do not know me, I would say, it would be a surprise that prayer and meditation influences my work. I pray and listen to the four directions, the earth, sky and creator. Recently meeting the Gwar artists work has been very inspiring.

Describe your work environment – Music, TV, Movies, things you drink/smoke, time of day etc.
My studio dances between very organized and completely chaotic. It really depends what project or piece are going on at the time. There’s always music on, but it turns into background buzz when I hit the zone. Could be anything from Pink Floyd to Outkast to Frank Zappa to Slayer to Johnny Cash to Scratch Acid…. Really all kinds of music. The only thing I drink is coffee, water and yerba Matte. I smoke cigarettes unfortunately and that fluctuates between 4-20 depending. I like starting around 10 working till 6 and then going back from like 8-12. Sometimes I skip second shift.

You mention meditation is a part of your life and played a strong role in unlocking your creative vision to produce the pieces in this exhibit – Many artists experience fear and doubt about their work, do you have any advice for them?
I’d say there are better things to have fear and doubt about. As long as we make work that is true to ourselves, it will be good enough.

You worked with GWAR for “HalloWofbat” 2016 in Brooklyn – Thats a match made in heaven – Can you share details on how that originated and turned out?
I moved to Richmond last November and was introduced to Bob Gorman by Roger Gastman. I emailed Roger that I would love to meet GWAR. I’ve been saying they are one of the most inspiring art collectives I’ve encountered for years. I mean they do their own illustrations, comics, narratives, costumes, it’s interactive with the audience, heavily involves music, social commentary and list goes on. They are amazing. I met Bob, Matt Maguire and Margaret Rolicki. They are all really talented and super nice. I mentioned HalloWolfbat and asked if there were any interest and it finally congealed. I’ve wanted to do something with them for years. I saw them in 90 and again in 2008ish. They’ve been going at it for over thirty years. I’m very grateful and very excited.

Storytelling is an integral part of your process, do you ever have a writers/creative block and if so, what happens?
I’d say my excitement levels go up and down, but not so much a block. If I feel stuck, I usually just keep working until I get frustrated enough to start making what I’m working on the way it is intended to be, if that make sense. Sometimes I will keep working on to stay in practice or until an idea that is brewing comes to fruition.

If you could choose only one, would you rather be thought of as a great artist or a nice person?
Again, This is none of my business. In the meantime I’ll practice both.

Richmond, Virginia-based visual artist, Dennis McNett, is a storyteller at heart, whose inventive and imaginative personal mythology about the world directly translates into the lively works he creates. Drawing from varied sources, including traditional folklore as well as popular culture stories, he continues to innovate while still honoring age-old traditions.

McNett has over twenty years of experience specializing in woodcarving and wood block/relief printmaking. Using a V-notch chisel he creates rich surfaces and deep contours which have a living quality about them. While wood engraving itself has its roots in 2D applications, McNett transcends those limitations by using carved markings as the basis for relief prints which become collage materials. They are then used to bring to life grandiose, three-dimensional installations at museums, art centers, galleries, city streets and other diverse environments. Despite the scale, McNett always starts with patterns and lines and slowly builds upon them adding depth and complexity to his narratives.

Having shown internationally at spaces like The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and notable domestic spaces like the Jonathan LeVine Gallery and Joshua Liner Gallery in New York City, McNett has also contributed as a visiting artist/lecturer at Universities throughout the country in addition to receiving numerous residencies.

Heralded in the past by The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, NPR, Juxtapoz and other notable outlets, Dennis McNett – like any good storyteller – has plenty of twists and turns planned for the future.

What is a Wolfbat?
There once was a great wolf called Fenris. Fenris was one of three children fathered by the half giant half god Loki. Fenris’s brother was the Midgard Serpent who was banished to the sea and his sister was Hel who was cast to the underworld. The gods feared Fenris and thought that he had the potential to one day harm them. (But I have affection for wolves and have been obsessed with them since I was very little… so I was reading this Nordic tale in a different way than was intended) Because the gods were afraid of the wolf, they tricked him into being bound and then cast him to live beneath the earth. ( now this didn’t sit right with me because up until this point in the story Fenris was just hanging out being a wolf… strong and beautiful) During Ragnarok, which is the great battle between the gods and the giants, the battle that would destroy the world, Fenris breaks his bonds and hunts down Odin on the battlefield. He had grown so large by this point that his top jaw scraped the heavens and his bottom jaw racked the earth. Fenris found Odin and devoured him. (at this point of the story, the way I viewed it, Odin asked for that for treating Fenris so poorly) Then Odin’s son kills Fenris. (and I was pissed because why does the wolf have to die?) Anyways, I didn’t like that ending, so I rewrote it. You see, Fenris’s sister Hel was one of the only characters in Nordic mythology with the power of resurrection. I wrote that Hel had retreated to the underworld when she saw how things were unfolding in the battle. When the flames had burned out and the battle was over, Hel found her brother’s mangled carcass on the battlefield. All that was intact was his head, so she resurrected him with bat wings so that he could fly the earth and destroy the gods. A Wolfbat was born.

I have viewed the gods as “the man”, corporations, banks, etc… dictating a world to the giants, you, people, who are strong and beautiful in their own way, just trying to be themselves, and suppressed like Fenris by being bound to a 9-5, finance, rules and regulations, surveillance, etc…

In 2006 I actually resurrected Fenris at the Deitch Art Parade in NYC. A Wolfbat was born. I viewed this new Giant more as a spirit that would wake people up, shake things up, allow you to participate……. I paraded the 16 ft. Fenris down West Broadway with wings flapping, drums pounding, and jaws gnashing along with 20 or so friends dressed in Wolfbat masks, fur boots, and covered in sacrificial blood. This was a new tribe.

I continue to use this tribe, the Wolfbat, and Parades/happenings, performances as a platform to set a stage of collaboration, story telling, comradery , and experience.

AVAILABLE ARTWORK

HEALER PHOENIX
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 35 x 32 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $3800
Availability: Inquire

PHOENIX GUIDE
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 34 x 24 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $3800
Availability: Inquire

THE GREEN LION, THE BLACKENING AND REBIRTH
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 34 x 44 inches
Year: 2015
Price: $4500
Availability: Inquire

SPIRIT OF THE EAST
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 44 x 44 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $5600
Availability: Inquire

UNTITLED
Media: Acrylic, woodcut prints on wood panel
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1200
Availability: Inquire

ANCESTOR
Media: Acrylic, woodcut prints on wood panel
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1200
Availability: Inquire

FOUR DIRECTIONS
Media: Acrylic, woodcut prints on wood panel
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1200
Availability: Inquire

UNDERSTAND COMPASSION
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1500
Availability: Inquire

UNDERSTAND CALM
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1500
Availability: Inquire

UNDERSTAND AWARENESS
Media: Woodcarving and acrylic
Size: 20 x 20 x 1.75 inches
Year: 2016
Price: $1500
Availability: Inquire

GUIDE 1
Media: Woodcut prints and acrylic on panel
Size: 14.25 x 13.5 inches
Year: 2015
Price: $750
Availability: Inquire

ELECTRIC SERPENT
Media: Woodcut prints and acrylic on panel
Size: 20.75 x 19.75 inches
Year: 2015
Price: $1100
Availability: Inquire

VESSEL GUIDE
Media: Woodcut prints and acrylic on panel
Size: 8.5 x 12.5 inches
Year: 2015
Price: $450
Availability: Inquire

THOUGHT, MEMORY AND PERSPECTIVE
Media: 4 color screen print
Size: 36 x 24 inches
Edition: 48
Signed & Numbered: Yes
Year: 2016
Price: $100
Availability:
LOOK ABOVE, LOOK ABOVE
Media: 5 color screen print
Size: 30 x 26 inches
Edition: 46
Signed & Numbered: Yes
Year: 2016
Price: $100
Availability:
THE CHASE OF SKOL AND HATI
Media: 9 color screen print
Size: 24 x 24 inches
Edition: 36
Signed & Numbered: Yes
Year: 2016
Price: $80
Availability:
WOLFBAT LEOPARD SNAKE
Media: 6 color screen print
Size: 21.5 x 29 inches
Edition: 20
Signed & Numbered: Yes
Year: 2016
Price: $250
Availability:
THE RESURRECTION OF FERNIS
Media: 4 color screen print
Size: 34 x 28.5 inches
Edition: 20
Signed & Numbered: Yes
Year: 2016
Price: $400
Availability: