Magazine article Artforum International

Cathy Wilkes: Tramway

Magazine article Artforum International

Cathy Wilkes: Tramway

Article excerpt

Making installations that combine abstract paintings and both figurative and abstract sculptures with found objects and ones she has collected over the years, Cathy Wilkes disperses all these components into absorbing and mysterious tableaux. Through these sometimes haunting assemblages, the Glasgow-based artist examines issues such as femininity, sexuality, and motherhood, while experimenting with all sorts of media and materials and carefully composing disparate elements into eerie domestic scenes.

Untitled, 2014, a new installation commissioned for 'Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland"--a nationwide program of events and exhibitions charting the evolution of the country's internationally recognized contemporary-art scene over the past two and a half decades--was composed of waiflike, armless, sculpted figures draped with a variety of fabrics, some standing with lowered heads; others, smaller, seemed to be sleeping on the bare cement floor. The figures are reminiscent of the characters in the late-nineteenth-century US comic strip The Yellow Kid, which satirized the developing consumer society of the time by following the adventures of a bunch of New York slum urchins. Placed around on the floor were arrays of mismatched mugs, plates, and platters, as well as tiny pieces of pottery, ornaments, snippets of jewelry, and a variety of trinkets such as thimbles, necklace charms, and small bells for animal collars, some of them. …

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