The paintings of Hilde Vogel-Michalik, an expressionist painter of the last century whose works are little known outside of the collection now housed at George Mason University’s Science & Technology Campus, will be on exhibit at Youngblood Art Studio in The Plains, VA. Dianne Beal is serving as curator for the show with gallery owner, Lilla Ohrstom.
Hilde Michalik was born in 1918 in Essen, Germany and died in northern Virginia in 1999. A devoted life-long student of abstract, expressionist art, Hilde studied painting with Professor Joseph Urbach at the Folkwang School of Art. In the early 1920s, her teacher had been a member of Das Junge Rheinland along with Otto Dix and Max Ernst, later labeled as degenerative artists under the Nazi regime. Hilde moved to the US with her husband, Harold Vogel, a sculptor and master carver in the mid-fifties. The couple fashioned a life of art, friendship and travel for themselves, which allowed Vogel-Michalik to devote herself to her craft.
Hilde was greatly influenced by the subjective expressionist principles of her teachers and fellow artists. Her paintings tend to express emotions and experiences rather than physical or practical realities, forging a path between the Expressionist artists of her native Germany and the younger generation of Abstract Expressionists in her adopted country.
Following innately the tradition of using emotion to evoke mood, Hilde often invited friends to look at her work and to watch their reactions without explaining her paintings or giving them a title to evoke ideas. The artist worked with watercolors, oils, acrylics and encaustic techniques to produce subtle, often mysterious, paintings. Her palette is richly textured, playing with color, form and spontaneity, not unlike the early works of Abstract Expressionist artists of the 1940s and 1950s. Order, structure and strength evolve from the color and shapes found during the creative process. Overall, the forms are evocative of things Hilde identified internally, taken from her impressions of nature and primitive or ancient structures.
This exhibition highlights a few of the 1,200 Vogel paintings now held in George Mason’s permanent collection and is a continuation of the university’s program to loan, adopt and to regularly show the works. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, September 18 from 4 – 8 pm, with guests Don Russell, curator of GMU and Deborah Weitzman-Ward, curator of the Vogel collection speaking at 6 pm.