Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Christopher Wilmarth ; Poetics/Duality of Light and gravity

Light : Drawing into Sculpture
Archive Material/Folders 2008/2013



The sense that glass provides an opening, a means of passage through to something else, is as central to Mallarme's Poetry as it to Wilmarth's Art.
Steven Henry Madoff


Christopher Wilmarth
The Museum of Modern Art
May25-August 20, 1989

The exhibition features glass and steel constructions that manipulate light and shadow and suggest poetic, even romantic content through a constructivist, geometric idiom.

Other Architecture
Constructing Metaphysical Space

Wilmarth's art reveals his essential concern with the mystical and physical properties of light, especially the ways in which light evokes reverie and generates sensations of space and containment.

The Architecture of Natural Light : Henry Plummer

EVANESCENCE
Orchestration of light to mutate through time

Intensity and integrity of Wilmarth's practice/vision.

PROCESSION
Choreography of light/moving eye

VEILS OF GLASS
Refraction of light/diaphanous film

Wilmarth made possibly his strongest, most beautiful works on paper, exploring a new level of expression while retaining continuity with past work.

ATOMIZATION
Sifting of light/through a porous screen

These drawings also contain allusions to the human presence. Their haunting, foreboding quality is prefigured in the grave, austere tones of some of the glass and steel structures.

CANALIZATION
Channelling of light/through a hollow mass

The duality of light and shadow and contrasts between abstraction and representation continue to be central concerns in his final drawings.

ATMOSPHERIC SILENCE
Suffusion of light with a unified mood

Wilmarth's sculptures from the early 1980's are influenced by the poetry of Stephane Mallarme.To affirm Mallarme's emphasis on the spiritual, the artist used a simple ovoid form, evoking a multitude of symbols, including the human head. These ovoids were made of blown glass, which Wilmarth viewed as "frozen breath". The artist pursued this figurative impulse into the mid 1980s, combining the anthropomorphic ovoid shapes with the larger abstract forms of his earlier sculpture.

LUMINESCENCE
Materialization of light in physical matter

Wilmarth composed with planes of delicate colour and light, placing plates of blackened steel behind translucent sheets of etched glass imbued with a luminous, greenish cast.

"He employed a painterly technique that emphasized the tactility and fichness of his materials, which like an alchemist he persistently sought to transform. He continually examined the concept of duality: contrasts between light and shadow, transparency and opacity, heaviness and weightlessness, materiality  and ethereality, form and spirit are repeatedly presented; the synthesis of geometric with organic forms, the range between abstraction and representation are constantly explored."
Laura Rosenstock, catalogue essay.