Becoming is a word that informs my work. Notions of shifting relationships regarding self, community, and politic have always intrigued me, and keep me actively engaged in discerning the wonder of our past and present. Accordingly, phenomena of the natural world from cosmic supernova to mangrove root systems, which live in multiple states of nature simultaneously, strike me as visual metaphors to relate these notions and make their way into everything I create. These networks are always in motion, expanding and contracting, accumulating and eroding, much like human knowledge and interactions within and without. That liminal state of being is where questions are born, where depth of character continues to unfold and most importantly where empathy is cultivated.
My desire is to intrigue viewers into a sense of discovery, much as a child embodies new understanding of the world around them. I want for a viewer to be pulled to examine from afar and in close. The use of abstraction, positive and negative spaces, unusual forms, and ways of contextualizing present adults moments outside of the mundane and “known”, placing them in a fresh space of curiosity. Abstraction, throughout the history of art has always been about the emotional self, about the search for the deepest sense of connectivity to the overwhelming feelings of the spirit. An accumulation of those experiences can be a powerful force, and much like rocks in a river can recreate patterns of engagement diverging the landscape of ones perceptions.
Clay is my vehicle to live in that space. The act of creation, from the lump of wet earth to the sculpture it becomes, satisfies my desire to exist in an undetermined world. This material, which can be anything, keeps my imagination moving, and pokes at my attentiveness to the possibilities of new forms and surfaces. I am able to develop new relationships all the time. Forms come to life, weaving their way through space, connecting and bifurcating, revealing themselves moment-by-moment, experience-by-experience. The artist Ann Hamilton wrote, “One doesn’t arrive – in words or in art – by necessarily knowing where one is going.” The old adage, “it’s not about the destination, but the journey” comes to mind. Clay and connections to science and philosophy keep me examining and loving the journey.
Joe Wilkinson is a sculptor and installation artist living in Seattle, Washington with his girlfriend Deb Schwartzkopf. He received his BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2013, and his MFA from Michigan State in 2016. He is currently in residence at Pottery Northwest in downtown Seattle until October of 2018. He also works with sculptor John Grade fabricating and installing large artworks throughout the US and beyond.