Instructions for Fountains
The sculpture of artist Wolfgang Vaatz possesses the lyrical grace of a mountain creek - the gentle rush of water which replenishes and uplifts spirits. Nourished by nature, Vaatz's indoor/outdoor water fountains are symphonic, engaging both visual, emotional and auditory senses. Vaatz has worked as a professional artist since 1986. Born in 1959 in Windhoek, Namibia, formerly Southwest Africa, he spent his early childhood in the African desert landscape. Having been raised in an arid environment, Wolfgang's love for water is profound. As a child, he played with mud whenever available. Paying close attention to what is happening around him; Vaatz is intrigued by the shapes created as water flows down a facade, over rocks in a stream, or to the rhythmic sound of the flowing water.
From Namibia, he and his family lived one year in Chicago, then in Heidelberg, Germany, where he received his main education. For several years, beginning in 1986, prolonged trips led him to Namibia to study and create. In particular, he studied the desert landscape, especially the creations of water and erosion. He invented an unconventional, experimental style using soil, desert sand, and acrylic paint on canvas. Successful exhibitions in Namibia and Germany followed. Eventually, the emphasis on texture in his paintings and the need to explore space further guided Wolfgang to sculpt with clay. As he was always intrigued by the forces of water in the landscape, water would soon become a physical part of the sculptures.
Inevitably, Vaatz turned to sculpture to explore space. "Sculpting is a process that goes beyond merely carving a piece of rock or shaping clay. Sculpting defines space," he says. "It is a form of communication where shades and colors engage with one another, thereby reaching out to the senses, creating an emotional and rational response."
"I want people to relate to their experiences in nature and recall the soothing sounds of a murmuring creek, its beauty and peacefulness," Vaatz says. "With this dimension in mind, my sculptures are far more than just fountains that recycle water." His original stoneware pieces truly are a visual delight, each fountain a carefully crafted sculpture, creating the sense that one is standing before a majestic cliff. Inspired by rivers, falls, and creeks, a sense of deja vu can occur. "Often shapes are inspired by real places. Rather than naturalistic rendering, I like to convey certain qualities in these works, such as the kind of experiences a particular place offers," Vaatz explains.
The various elements of each piece are perfectly balanced to complement the path of the water, glistening as it flows down the richly textured fountain. “The varied colors found in each water sculpture add to the balance” explains Vaatz. "I create a contrast between the color fields and the three-dimensional shapes. They can be in competition or in dialogue."
Stoneware is the preferred media in Vaatz’s original sculptures because it is the most suitable medium when working with water. "Stoneware is very hard. It is resistant to the physical and chemical erosion caused by water. It doesn't stain and the colors do not fade," he observes, "Also it has a beautiful stony feel to it."
After immigrating to the United States in 1996, Wolfgang began exhibiting water sculptures in the United States. His work has been warmly received by businesses and private collections throughout the nation. Having moved to the Southwest, Wolfgang is again reconnected to his source of inspiration: the desert landscape and mountain springs.
Instructions for Fountains