Irvin Wheeler's creative work has taken the form of multimedia sculpture, oil painting, and woodwork. Wheeler has exhibited in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, and Denver, among other cities. The artist’s processes range from painting in oil on canvas to direct wood carving, sculpture, and furniture making using traditional hand-tools as well as modern techniques such as CNC routing, wood-bending and pyrography. He employs a broad variety of hard and softwoods, domestic and foreign. The beautiful, expressive structure of the wood patterns and grains invite the viewer in to really look more closely. Then the art can whisper its message. Wheeler is currently casting forms in ceramics, iron, aluminum and bronze which reconnect to an awareness and love of African techniques. He seeks no limits in forms of expression therefore wood, metal, paint, stone, ceramics and other materials all form his palette.
The essence of the textures, shapes and colors within Wheeler’s art are grounded in a Black Aesthetic. It focuses on the forces unleashed when the seen and the unseen cross paths – much like tectonic shifts in the Earth’s crust. The Middle Passage (also known as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade) was one such intersection where the human and natural resources of Africa came into contact with the greed of Europe on a monumental scale. Vast shifts in perspectives and values took form. Most importantly in the dehumanization of Africans through chattel slavery: the genocidal African and European practice of capture of Africans, their dislocation to the Americas and the selling of these Africans to build a new political economy erected on human suffering. European expansionism and imperialism led directly to its current world dominance. The resultant shifts and new potentialities continue to inform all facets of contemporary global society, including art, music, politics, inter and trans-national warfare and conflict, economics, spirituality and philosophy.