Category: Visual, Sculpture
47 Concord Avenue
White Plains, New York 10606-2212
- Peter Wilcox
Summary: My aim is to create sculpture that is, at once, eye-catching, provoking and fun to look at, for placement in public spaces. From my giant garden tools to my chair series, to the recycling of found materials,
I am exploring the effect of taking a familiar form, and twisting, chopping, disassembling, reassembling or stretching it into something else. My sculptures have been placed on private estates, in public places, including a major state highway approach to my hometown of White Plains, NY and shown in numerous shows and exhibits in Westchester County.
Statement: Whenever I see something for the first time I always want to know, What is that? How does it work? How was it made? I want to take it apart and put it back together again, to see and feel, how the parts actually work together. As I grew up, others' curiosity about these things faded, but mine only grew as I gained further knowledge of materials and their mechanical attributes, and studied the psychology of perception. I gained an appreciation of the secret and magical properties contained within common objects, which are often hidden from our everyday experiences of them.
We mostly recognize objects, habitually, by their external cues, from which we visualize an ideal physical form associated with a name: that's a 'chair,' whether upholstered or bare, metal or wood, large or small. Often that's where our knowledge of the object ends. How was it conceived and fashioned? Why is it attractive (or not)? How does its design utilize the materials from which it's made? What kind of psychological cues affect our feelings about how each piece could be used by us? These are not peopleâ's everyday concerns, and yet answering those questions (or even just getting people to ask them) can lead to the enjoyment of seeing familiar things in a new way, and a richer experience of ourselves within our environment.
When I put my first piece of sculpture out in the front yard of my house (a 6 foot tall fiberglass trowel, ala Oldenburg) as a monument to my wife's love of gardening, neighbors came up to me in amazement.
'What is it? How was it made?' I had inadvertently started to share with my neighbors my childhood wonderment at the physical properties of the things around us and how we perceive them. I became hooked on publicly accessible sculpture then and there.
Most people don't encounter serious art often enough in their lives. This is not because there isn't enough art! Rather it is there are too few places for it to be seen. Enclosed gallery or museum space is expensive to build and maintain. That is why at least some of my pieces are meant to be placed outdoors, in public spaces, to be seen by casual observers who can stop and enjoy the visual incongruities of my art, without being intimidated by a formal setting.
By using recognizable objects as the subject of my art, but shifting the usual relationships of their lines, angles and planes, or by enlarging the object in relationship to its environment, or by inserting psychological content or cues into the mix, my art is disruptive of the automatic process of interpreting the visual material. My 'Chair Series' for instance, by slicing apart and reassembling at disconcerting angles, or by 'dressing' the ordinary wooden chair, gives my works a puzzling and perplexing new look, inviting the viewer to stop and try to mentally reassemble the piece into a more recognizable form, enjoying a new structural and psychological awareness of the object in the process.
I can be contacted at PublicArt@optimum.net
Member of Westchester Comm. College Center for the Arts
The Blue Door Artist Association and
the Westchester Sculpture Group on Facebook.com/pwilcox1
Training: I am a self-taught sculptor, using skills learned years ago in construction work, combined with vivid memories of childhood visits to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Starting in 2004 I attended the Westchester Community College Center for the Arts in the Westchester County Center in White Plains, where my fellow sculptors fanned the flame of my newly discovered, but deeply rooted, passion.