“If Gauguin had resided in Costa Rica, how different would his art output look?”
It’s a question that Ohio Wesleyan University alumnus Donald Voelker ’69, often asks himself before putting paintbrush to canvas to create his bold, colorful depictions of Costa Rica and other Central and Latin American countries.
The OWU psychology major and former Sigma Alpha Epsilon president moved from Michigan to Costa Rica in 2004 and now creates and sells artworks as “Donaldo.” Fifty of his acrylics and oils will be on display in two Ohio Wesleyan art galleries from October 1 through November 12. Voelker himself will return to campus for Homecoming & Family Weekend, where he will discuss his paintings during an artist’s reception at 4 p.m. October 9 in Gallery 2001, located inside Beeghly Library.
The “Donaldo Paints Latin America” exhibit will be on display in Gallery 2001 and also in the Alumni Gallery, located inside the nearby Mowry Alumni Center.
In his artist’s statement, Voelker notes that he is particularly inspired by the Post-Impressionist artists living in Paris in the late 1880s, including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec—artists who rediscovered strong line and color in their compositions and who traveled broadly in search of different cultures to depict in their works.
“Now, whenever I start a new painting, I ponder the question, ‘How would these masters approach this subject? ’ ” Voelker states.
Voelker adds that his newer works also contain influences of German Expressionism. “My German heritage, I guess,” he says.
Justin Kronewetter, M.F.A., director of Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum, says he thinks gallery-goers will enjoy Voelker’s bold paintings.
“He is passionate about his art,” Kronewetter says, “and it shows. His works are festive and vibrant, utilizing a full palette of colors. His paintings also are realistic, giving viewers a true sense of the rich culture of Costa Rica and surrounding countries.”
Kronewetter says the logistics for Voelker’s show have been interesting, especially working with U.S. Customs officials to get the 50 artworks safely to Delaware.
“I look forward to working with other alumni on potential exhibitions including,” he says with a smile, “OWU artists who live a little closer to home.”
OWU’s Gallery 2001, a gift from the Class of 2001, is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. The Alumni Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Learn more about Voelker and his art.