“I am convinced that art should serve more than just a decorative function,” writes Wery Pollier, a painter based in the municipality of Eeklo, East Flanders, Belgium. “The added value of an artwork for me is the message that it depicts. If my work can touch the spectator emotionally and make them think about the message, I would consider my painting successful.”
Wery Pollier derives inspiration from important social events that affect people directly or indirectly. In a muted greyish palette, through subtle combinations of light and shadow, he explores modern alienation and anxieties, cultural differences and geographical displacement.
Disappointment, insomnia, addiction, poverty, fear, loneliness, happiness, love are the major emotions and conditions displayed. Figures are often lost in thought, staring at the floor or out the window. Some are even masked, as if they are unsure of their personalities or too shy to expose themselves or perhaps too scared of being caught for having done something wrong. The style is predominantly figurative but, says the artist, with a clear effect of abstraction and influences of Neo-Expressionism.
Wery Pollier is an admirer of Frans Hals and J.M.W. Turner. “Their simplicity and colour use is formidable,” continues the artist. “Both are still undervalued. They also did not hesitate to denounce or depict current themes. For example, Turner painted the ‘The Slave Ship’ in 1840. He expresses how people are thrown into the sea and killed for the purpose of insurance money. The comparison with the present case of refugees is obvious. People are still being exploited and murdered for money. In this time of uncertainty, we need more tolerance, compassion and trust in each other since we all are one. Otherwise, humanity will face an even bigger crisis. There’s no refugee crisis, but only human crisis…in dealing with refugees we’ve lost our very basic values.
“Then, my work on poverty is inspired by the book Hunger (El hambre) by Argentinian author Martin Caparros. It is a bulky study that shows how, despite an abundance of food on the planet, a situation of hunger is deliberately created for economic reasons. My man with a mask is looking for a new world, and identity, moving away from terror, retaliation and war, from violence and faith.”
The artist attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Eeklo. He decided to pursue art full-time after a self-employed career in the food industry. His paintings have been exhibited in Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
Images used with permission.