Cathy Wilkes

Cathy Wilkes

Carnegie Museum of Art

Cathy Wilkes, “Untitled,” 2011.
Oil paint on canvas, 25 x 35 x 3 cm.*

November 4, 2011

Cathy Wilkes

Forum Gallery, Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080

Carnegie Museum of Art will present the first solo American museum exhibition to combine the sculptural installations and paintings of Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes (b. Belfast 1966). Including the debut of a new installation and recent paintings, the exhibition will provide a comprehensive view of Wilkes’s deeply humanistic and empathetic body of work.

For her exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art, Cathy Wilkes has conceived the various individual works in the gallery as a whole experience. The exhibition brings together groupings of figures with low platforms and a group of recent abstract paintings. Through these different modes of display, Wilkes deals with the forms and possible expressions of history and memory, and the qualities that define the two. At the root of these displays is Wilkes’s interest in an undefined “ancient force”; potentially traumatic moments of loss or buried memories; and moments when, as the artist describes it, “a body becomes emptied.”

In the installation, Wilkes unites a personal, introverted sense of memory and experience with a more public expression of past, shared experiences. These interests underpin her use of low, table-like platforms to collect paintings and new collages alongside her figurative sculptures, as well as found objects dug up from the site of World War I’s Battle of the Somme, which killed more than a million soldiers. Her figurative sculptures and the semi-abstract imagery in her paintings may begin with images of old soldiers and burned battlefields, but ultimately they go through many psychological and material layers, resulting in the final works that remain open to projection and associative meanings.

In her studio, Wilkes’s paintings and sculptures are created through the same process of continuous and interconnected labor and experimentation; and an inchoate desire to channel the invisible forces and the connections that define intimate relationships. Often generated by shared human experiences such as the emotional states of loss and an almost transcendental sense of life’s cycles of birth and death, Wilkes’s work is visceral and exposed.

Cathy Wilkes is organized by Dan Byers, associate curator of contemporary art at Carnegie Museum of Art.

Cathy Wilkes is the 67th edition of the museum’s Forum series, which extends the mission of the Carnegie International in connecting local audiences to a global network of important international contemporary artists. Carnegie Museum of Art is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the 16th century to the present.

*Image above:
Collection of Nancy and Nate Kacew.

Cathy Wilkes
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November 4, 2011

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