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2008 Emerging Artists

Author: Jennifer Cushman
Issue: March, 2008, Page 145



MIXED-MEDIA COLLAGE ARTIST NANCY WILKOFF

Nancy Wilkoff seldom goes looking for items to use in her work. Though she has a substantial collection of papers, bones, metal parts, string, textiles and interesting thingamajigs, each object found its way to her, as if sentient in its desire to become art.

Emmie in April
While Waiting for Em
“My studio is a recycling center. People give me stuff, saying, ‘this would look good in your work,’” explains the collage artist. “I don’t go looking for things—they find me.”

Each item she touches is transformed anew. Fabric becomes an anonymous shape. Drawings, prints and papers are torn, painted over and sanded until only a vestige of original intent remains. Nature’s flotsam and jetsam get a whitewash of paint to satisfy the artist’s muted color palette.

Wilkoff sifts through piles of stuff until something catches her eye. After she picks up an item, a suggestion forms in her mind as she searches for a pairing. One object leads to another.

As an example, the artist makes reference to her box-frame collages: “The boxes evolve with no preconceived idea. Choices can be spontaneous or well-edited; the only criterion is that these shapes contribute to the development of a new entity. If successful, recycled parts simply form elements, a vocabulary to describe positive and negative spaces.”

Though her designs often are formal in execution, her titles tend toward the comical, such as an assemblage series of bleached and altered bones. Wilkoff named the first piece Bonehenge. Her offbeat sense of humor ran amok, and a series of devilishly punned artwork was born.



NANCY WILKOFF: Mixed media
Age: 76
Place of Residence: Tucson
Education: Attended Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio; studied privately with Margaret Evans upon Evans’ retirement as director of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
Gallery Representation: Self-represented
Exhibitions and Honors of Note: Work in the permanent collections of Butler Institute of American Art, Herman Miller Inc., IBM, Motorola, Portland (Oregon) Art Museum, Purdue University, and Tucson Museum of Art. Most of these were Purchase Awards, in which pieces were juried into exhibits and the purchase of a work constituted the award. Signature Member of the National Collage Society
Web site: nwilkoff-finearts.com
Quote: “My work evolves with no preconceived ideas. It is a process of arranging and energizing materials, allowing for inspired accidents.”


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