Artist Joe Wilkinson received his BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his MFA from Michigan State University. His work in clay began in 2008 finding inspiration in the material at the Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, Colorado. Born in Watsonville, California, Joe has lived and worked extensively throughout the United States, experiencing numerous career paths, including a term in the US Air Force, and most recently completed a two year artist residency at Pottery Northwest in Seattle. He lives with his girlfriend, Studio Potter, Deborah Schwartzkopf, who challenges and inspires him daily, in a lovely home in White Center, a neighborhood southwest of downtown Seattle. In addition to setting up his own studio and continuing his sculpting and wall installations, he works as assistant to artist John Grade, fabricating and installing large public sculptures.
My work examines and celebrates a state of flux. Liminal moments, outside of the ritual of determined pattern, stir and agitate existing parameters. They penetrate into the unconscious, creating new spaces from which to examine and comprehend shifting realities. Patterns or “self-similarity” within nature inspire us to situate ourselves into various states of organization and behaviors. We seek the utmost efficiency to live a deterministic existence. However, as soon as a piece of the pattern is interrupted, chaos ensues, leaving us in an uncomfortable state of uncertainty. Cosmology, astronomy, geology, and biology inform the objects and installations I create. These systems, which are at the forefront of human discovery, reflect the empirical state of patterns that determine our present understanding of the physical world. I excite these patterns and shift perception through the introduction of human forces, pressures, or systems, inspired by chaos theory, to inspire a state of curiosity. New and unknown moments invoke a sense of wonder and invite the desire to explore. Clay as a material lends itself to the moment-by-moment forces and pressures needed to create traces of patterns. Its malleability and transformative nature echo the state of curiosity and wonder I wish to invoke. Its association to human development inspires a sense of connectedness to time past and present. Clay in conjunction with light, another material linked cosmologically to past and present, create moments within my installation that straddle the known and unknown, celebrate the chaotic, and revel in a state of becoming.