New Boseman Gallery exhibit features art from UNCW alum


“Blind Greed” is the main centerpiece of artist Nathan Ryan Verwey’s collection in the Boseman Gallery lasting until Nov. 9. This piece is sculpted of ceramic and is on sale for $1000. – Photo by Brenna Flanagan

Brenna Flanagan, Staff Writer

A local Wilmington artist and UNCW alum is the new feature in the Boseman Gallery, which will show his street-art inspired collection until Nov. 9. Nathan Ryan Verwey received his Bachelor of Arts from UNCW and is now painting and sculpting vibrant graffiti pieces for the Wilmington community.

“We were really excited to put together an exhibit for Nathan because of an overall interest in his work and his growing success in the Wilmington art community,” said Lauretta Lawlor, the ACE Arts Chair in charge of organizing exhibits for the gallery. “He has been featured in several venues downtown and to let him have a solo show here at the Boseman Gallery was an honor. To me, his work is so vibrant and relevant. Having a street-art inspired gallery was exciting and we also love supporting our former students.”

It is easy to forget you are in a gallery instead of the streets of Wilmington due to the bold colors and gritty aesthetic of Verwey’s collection. Verwey loves the graphic and dwarfing nature of street-art and graffiti, but that’s not all.

Nathan Ryan Verwey’s “Road Signs” is featured in his Boseman Gallery collection “THE EMPTY HOUSE ON TOP OF THE HILL.” It is on sale for $300. – Photo by Brenna Flanagan

“It’s also the chosen medium of our time; I believe it’s the new way of displaying art in our modern generation,” said Verwey.

He believes using walls and buildings as a canvas can beautify our cities and enrich the lives of every person without him or her ever having to step foot in a museum.

It gives individuals access to art that might not have had the means or desire to seek it out on their own prior. You don’t have to pay museum fees and they don’t get charged anything to own this canvas, anytime they want to see it, they can go to wherever it’s displayed,” said Verwey. This is the inspiration behind his exhibit in the Boseman Gallery, “The Empty House at the Top of the Hill.”

Each piece in the exhibit is unique and can be viewed outside the exhibit as its own piece, but a few of his pieces share a similar theme. Many of his pieces, including “Reverse King,” “Blind Greed,” and “Road Signs” feature an image of a crown. Verwey said he was inspired by a line from the movie “Interstellar” which is “Six billion people, just imagine that and every last one of them trying to have it all.” This line stuck with him because he thinks it describes the modern day and he uses this inspiration to create this exhibit.

“The Empty House … is a reference to a castle and this pinnacle of success that I believe our modern culture is driving towards,” said Verwey, “consumerism and monetary wealth, the buying of goods to fulfill us, to fulfill our view of success. Having a luxurious castle like all the people that we idolize: movie stars, sports stars, famous musicians, are what we have chosen as our modern-day idols and they live in these huge castles on top of hills.”

He thinks being in that castle can be isolating and lonely, so Verwey chose pieces for this exhibit that would reflect that feeling, whether it be the “certain look of a crown or haloing of the head.” However, the paintings “In Wolf’s Clothes” and “Pulling At The Thread,” both of which are accompanied by a poem written by Verwey, are described as self-portraits.

“These characters are based upon threads from my journals,” said Verwey. “They are ideas or questions that I ask myself and things that I fight within my own mind and so because they are self-portraits, I thought it would be fitting to tie together the image with what’s going on and that character’s mind.”

“Queen Bitch” by artist Nathan Ryan Verwey is featured in the Boseman Gallery as part of “THE EMPTY HOUSE ON TOP OF THE HILL” exhibit. – Photo by Brenna Flanagan

Administrators of the art gallery are hoping that this exhibit will inspire students here at UNCW to pursue their dreams, whether art or other.

“Any interest or any skill can be transformed into a beautiful gallery. [This exhibit] will also let students know they will always have the support of UNCW long after their graduation,” said Lawlor.

As for Verwey and his art, he wants the viewers of the gallery to get lost in the art and their own understanding of the art, even if that understanding is different than Verwey’s vision.

“I have my own energy and understanding of a piece that I bring, but I always want the viewer to respond to their own energy that they’re feeling and not for me to dictate what it is. I think one of the worst things that an artist can do is tell their viewer how to feel,” said Verwey.

Verwey’s exhibit will be on display until Nov. 9 in the Boseman Gallery on the second floor of Fisher University Union.