Kim Willcox_ Artist Statement

Short Statement

            Is there a way to open a mind to new possibilities? As children, we are all open to the world without any preconceived notions of what that world has instore for us. In my practice, I use my work as a tool to strip away the preconceived notions I have developed about my environment. I isolate materials that typically perform a function in everyday life, like cellophane or glass, and highlight the qualities about them that can only be activated by the body. When I engage these materials in my studio, I discover ways to communicate and cooperate with them to fabricate an experience of wonder or play. I then create installations and performances influenced by this research. These artworks immerse the audience in this sense of discovery centralized around one or many materials.

To me, how the viewer interprets the work conceptually is not as important as the viewer having engaged with my materials and gained an experience from that interaction. My work demands the viewer to be fully present. It brings them to that childhood level of getting lost in uncertainty or mystery. I believe that it is in this moment when a person’s mind is the most open to the possibilities of the world around them. I use this opportunity as a way to spark conversations about the world and the way that we exist in it, both as individuals and as a species.


Long Artist Statement

Is there a way to open a mind to new possibilities; a way to introduce someone to the world outside their own? As children, we are all open to the world without any preconceived notions of what that world has instore for us. We explore, play, and touch without hesitation as it is the only way we know how to experience our environment. This is the place and time where we are most vulnerable and susceptible to perceiving the other; the things within our universe outside ourselves.

In my practice, I use my work as a tool to strip away the preconceived notions I have developed about my environment. I find beauty in the everyday objects I encounter and look at every instance as a place to find inspiration. I often find myself exploring many materials for an installation or performance and become enamored with an individual material and it’s properties. I then isolate these materials that often perform an everyday function, like cellophane or glass, and highlight the qualities about them that I can interact with or cooperate with. When I engage with materials in my studio, I enter into a contract with them wherein I will not force upon it my predetermined notions of its duty in artmaking. I communicate with it to create the experience of wonder and play. I focus on the experience and gesture that the material and I create together and therefore that interaction creates something better than I or that material could have imagined alone. This research allows me to create installations and performances that immerse the audience in this sense of discovery centralized around one or many materials.

I create the work for myself. It is my way of exploring ideas of the human and nonhuman existing in a system where there is no hierarchy. From this mind space, I can enter into conversations and places that I would not normally feel comfortable because now there is no hierarchy, there just is the self and non-self. I investigate myself as being part of a system and not greater than the system. Through art, I practice accepting these new concepts in hopes that one day, I will replace everything I was once taught with that which I am trying to teach myself. Donna Harraway encourages us to “Make kin in the Anthropocene” in her book Staying with the Trouble and Rebecca Solnit implores us to “Leave the door open to the unknown, the door to the dark” in The Field Guide to Getting Lost. These two women have shaped my practice and my life with their words. I make art this way because in times such as these there is no alternative than to keep working against the things that make you want to lay down.

I do not ask the viewer to follow me down this rabbit hole. To me, how the viewer interprets the work conceptually is not as important as the viewer having engaged with my materials and gained an experience from that interaction. My work leaves room for the viewer to be fully interactive and brings them to that childhood level of getting lost in uncertainty or mystery. As an artist, it could just be a moment outside of their everyday experiences that I provide the viewer, but I choose to believe that in this moment of removal from reality and time is when a person’s mind is the most open to new ideas. This is where the greater conversations about the role of self, art, and environment can begin.

Leave a Reply