Christopher Wilmarth (1943–1987) is best known for creating glass and steel sculptures of an enthralling formal beauty and profound poetic sensibility. One key to the vitality of these works was his grasp of the possibilities of drawing, which led to some of the most fascinating and innovative sculptors’ drawings of the last 35 years. Comprising more than 50 works, Christopher Wilmarth: Drawing into Sculpture reflects Wilmarth’s wide embrace of drawing and focuses not only on drawing as traditionally defined but also on his overall concept of the medium and its realization both on paper and in sculpture.
The exhibition illuminates three aspects of Wilmarth’s drawings. The first is the role of drawing in his preparatory process and focuses on his sketchbooks, maquettes, and technical specification sheets. The second section highlights five of the artist’s glass and steel cable “drawings” from the early 1970s and addresses how the traditional distinctions between drawing and sculpture became blurred and ultimately erased altogether in his work. The final part concentrates on the independent drawings Wilmarth made directly after, or in association with, his sculptures as a means to think through the completed work and to look forward to new creative ideas.
Organized by Edward Saywell, Charles C. Cunningham, Sr., Curatorial Associate, Drawings Department.
Funded by the Fifth Floor Foundation, Keith and Katherine Sachs, Carol and Sol LeWitt, Agnes Gund, and Daniel Shapiro.