Heather Divoky’s first “masterpiece” was a drawing of her dad’s 1963 Ford Falcon convertible. She was 8. But it wasn’t until the Wilmington native was caught doodling in a coffee shop by a local gallery owner during her sophomore year in college that she decided to seriously pursue her talents.
Seven years later, in addition to having shown work in Boone, Nashville and in the Netherlands, Divoky will now hang a a solo exhibition, “A Million Little Lines,” at downtown Bottega Gallery and Art Bar.While Divoky’s intricate line work and lively use of color might paint a different picture, the artist still describes her technique as “doodling.”
“How about we call it: ‘Creating one heck of a coloring book!’” Divoky quips. “I like to tell people that I create with markers. That’s it, I think.”
Doodling, markers and coloring books aside, Divoky’s description is modest. She masterfully generates depth of color and form with small blocks of ink and “a million little lines,” so to speak.
A fan of early Netherlandish artist Hieronymus Bosch, Divoky spent much of her time as an art-history graduate student living in the Netherlands and transfixed by the intricacies of painterly line work. Divoky also leans heavily on influences from the art noveau movement. Her drawings have almost a graphic, poster-like quality to them, in the vein of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.
Yet Divoky’s inspirations come from Wilmington artist Minnie Evans, too. Evans’ media of choice, like Divoky’s, were simple—wax crayons and ink, for starters. But the two artists’ work transcends the paper.
“I always aim to tell a story, whether the subject matter is a person, place or thing,” Divoky says. “And the first thing to happens is a lot—a lot—of research.”
Research is something Divoky enjoys, especially in her work as an art historian and at the Leland Cultural Arts Center. She helps organize classroom and gallery programming at the arts center in coming months.
Divoky also has teamed up with the Pollinator Project, a group dedicated to improving habitats for diminishing bee populations. Divoky will hang 500 bee magnets in what is a roughly 7-by-2-foot installation piece on display at Bottega. A portion of proceeds from magnet sales will benefit the Pollinator Project.
“I think it’s really important to let people know what is happening with the bees and to provide information about what they can do to help,” Divoky explains. “This installation is probably my favorite because of how I feel about helping this cause and all of the research I was able to do about it.”
Divoky uses pen and marker, and now, paper, wire and stained glass, to create her pieces. Her current body of work is a culmination of lines, created from letters, wire and glass.
“My style becomes an expression of my curiosity, as well as a commentary on obsession, so research is perhaps the most important part of my process,” Divoky continues. “Only after research is complete do I sketch out the work. . . . While my drive may be obsession and curiosity, ultimately I want to show how interesting and colorful the world we live in can be.”
The artist’s use of color is spellbinding. Shades of brown and black interlace to create the illusion of wood grain panels. Rich patterns of geometrics weave together like an ancient tapestry.
“I take my conceptual inspiration, which is integral to the piece, from facts buried in history, whether that be from the Greeks, etymology of words or locations that I’ve visited,” Divoky states. “Everywhere and everything has a story, something I try to emphasize through my style.”
Bottega guests will have the opportunity to hear these stories for themselves during the opening of Divoky’s exhibition from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 19. In addition to meeting the artist, visitors will enjoy light hors d’oeurves and live music. The show will stay up until August 15.