Symbiosis by Vicco Von Voss | Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

Symbiosis by Vicco Von Voss

Chaney Gallery, 2nd floor



Interview with Vicco Von Voss about his exhibition, Symbiosis, at Maryland Hall and his collaboration with Sara Bakken and Blake Conroy



Waters Edge, Black walnut slab, bendable cherry wood by Vicco Von Voss

Exhibition Statement

The complex, complimentary interrelationship between two organisms is the founding concept of this exhibition. “Symbiosis” reflects Vicco von Voss’ need to explore beyond his artistic boundaries by inviting collaboration. The rich creative atmosphere sparked by new ideas and the visual language of other media is a source of vital inspiration—and a crucial catalyst for growth and expansion.

Interwoven into Vicco von Voss’ woodwork are pieces by Sara Bakken, a fabric and glass artist, and Blake Conroy’s work in metal. These organic materials respond to each other—whether in contrast or harmony—and by doing so, achieve a cohesive visual whole greater than any respective medium or a single artist’s realm of expression. Informed by the necessity of symbiosis in nature—the butterfly to the blossom, the fish to the coral, the lichen to the tree—these works are both wholly separate yet deeply informed by the other, exploring the fertile interplay between different concepts, materials, and vision.

Sara Bakkan combines glass and silk in her work through a process of accumulation, the objects project ideas of growth, development and reproduction.  Glass is a material that naturally gives reference to the natural world.  At a molten, liquid state glass has the ability to expand, contrast and move.  Silk is a fabric that is delicate yet tough, organic and resilient. Her work represents a desire for the exotic and the unknown, and to travel and explore the planet’s most remote regions.

Blake Conroy’s metal works are “composed by manipulating scale, color, and layering. This gives them the intricacy of nature in an abstract form”. In a world that commodifies nature, Blake Conroy shows us the individuality of every living thing. After drawing and laser-cutting images of the same subject viewed from many different perspectives, he layers these multimedia sheets atop each other, forcing the viewer to look closely enough to recognize minute differences. Blake applies Aristotle to ecology, and disseminates his message through art: we must preserve and protect the richness of our world—replete as it is with unique, particular things.

A keystone work in this exhibit will feature the cross-section of an ancient tree that grew in a Chesapeake churchyard for 450 years. Cut into a round almost 20 feet in circumference, the magnificent ring becomes a palette to express and encircle the elemental interconnections between wood, metal, glass and fabric.

Artist Bio 

Vicco von Voss is a craftsman, an artist, and a designer working in wood. Deeply informed by his spiritual connection to trees and the unique life energy of the materials he uses, von Voss’ work combines traditional joinery methods with contemporary design elements—producing work that is sensuous in line, harmonious in form, and deeply reverent of the wood from which it is crafted. Vicco von Voss has spent his career creating sculptural pieces of furniture that seamlessly marry form and function. Using salvaged wood from trees fallen by snow, by age, by wind, or storms, he matches his materials to his project with great care. The natural grain, color, and depth of each piece of wood are considered so that it achieves its greatest beauty and usefulness.