RETROSPECTIVE OF MOTOMECHANICALS
BY GREGORY A. VETTEL
MARCH 10 - APRIL 22, 2022
Reception: Thursday, March 10th,
Conversation with Artist Gregory A. Vettel and UND Art Historian Nicole Derenne:
Saturday, March 26th, 2:30 pm
In my sculptures and prints I explore the inner workings of mechanized, mobile machines by utilizing worn out steel machine parts that are normally enclosed, hidden, and ignored by the vast majority of the public who never consider, much less care about how machines work. My work is influenced by my love of motorcycles, mechanisms and my experience as an internal combustion technician. My theme is of transportation machines; specifically motorcycle parts from the oldest American-made motorcycle in current production. I prefer mechanical subjects—sharp, angular geometric forms and shapes with high contrast features and textures.
I find the motorcycle, an old form of transportation, more personal and exhilarating than the automobile. The motorcycle has a rich and proud tradition over a hundred years old of two-wheeled adventures. The motorcycle parts I use to construct my statues are from new to 60 years old. The statues represent imaginary machines or devices that apparently perform some unknown task. Many pieces of the statues move under the exploring hands of the viewers who enjoy the texture, form and fit of the machine parts. The look and feel of unpainted, rough worn steel is a sharp contrast to the high tech, shiny plastic design look of enclosures for the inner workings of present machines.
My digital print series evolved from directly scanning individual steel gears on the glass and using image processing programs to manipulate
colors and textures and then layering to achieve depth and abstraction.
Gregory A Vettel Sr.
Gregory Vettel Sr. is a Red River Valley native from the Thompson area where he is rebuilding his grandfather’s farmstead into art park. He received his BA in Graphic Design in 1984 from Minot State University, ND where he served as the MSU Art Gallery Director for the Harnett Hall Gallery. He was the Exhibition Coordinator and Registrar of the North Dakota Museum of Art for 25 years when he retired in the fall of 2019. He has supervised / installed over 350 exhibitions from artists around the world and was responsible for all the physical aspects of Museum art displays.
He has received certificates from the Smithsonian’s Collections Studies program and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Photographic Preservation workshop series.
He has taught numerous art workshops for elementary and middle school students through the museum’s outreach programs. He has been president of the ND Art Gallery Association for 4 years and served 9 years on the board of the Grand Forks County Historical Society with 4 years as president. He is a practicing sculptor/ digital artist with over 50 exhibitions in the region and over 50 artworks in private collections throughout the country.