on work: Christopher Wilmarth

“Art,” he wrote in 1974, “exists for a reason. The reason is simple and often forgotten.
Art is man’s attempt to communicate an understanding of life to man.
To give in a sculpture what I understand; to imbue concrete things
with parallels to human feelings; to do this in a real way;
to be believable in my purpose.”

from this excellent piece on the artist


  1. Thank you Lucia for introducing us to Wilmarth. The quote you pasted drew me in and I ended up reading the entire article. Something to chew on for sure...

    "An exhibition, a sale, or a publication is a fine thing as long as it doesn’t distract from the search for a space where the light is just right."

    I think more people today do stand by their work, be it art or music and do not allow the 'light' to move. I think if an artist gives that up, then their 'space' was never free to begin with. To each their own...

  2. Glad you read the article, and glad you now know of Wilmarth. His light went out too soon, as it were, and I can't help but feel a kind of affection for him and his quiet work. I think having integrity like his is as hard now as it ever was, maybe harder. I wonder sometimes what he'd make of all this internet stuff -- the endless self-promotion that it makes possible.

  3. He did say, Art is man’s attempt to communicate an understanding of life to man. You would think that he would have wanted that communicated somehow, probably self promoted, similar to an independent label or unsigned musician. The internet is what allows people like Wilmarth today, to communicate to the world/man. Just because there is SO much out there today, doesn’t mean you can’t have a deep integrity or an unwilling nature to compromise. His integrity- while admirable seemed to have been missing something. Maybe if he found that missing piece things would not have been so overwhelming for him.

  4. Well, certtainly he felt differently than most people -- was more sensitive and more than a little extreme -- I mean that protest scene he staged! But I think he serves as a really important counterweight, or did, especially in the art-glut of the eighties, to all the money grubbiness. I think he understood something essential about a artist's need to first be true to oneself -- make work that doesn't pander or cave. Certainly, I don't doubt that he would have understood the internet as a very valuable tool. I think he understood that all things can be had in good measure, but I also he think he understood something particular about himself -- that "other" thing --that made life so difficult for him. Maybe it's as simple as an unwilingness to be bought, and a desire for autonomy in an art world that made that increasingly hard. I really don't know. But I like him, and what he stood for.