Christopher Wilmarth (American, 1987)

Christopher Wilmarth (American, 1943–1987) is best known for his expressive glass and wooden sculptures, created in an abstracted Minimalist idiom. Wilmarth was born in Sonoma, CA, and worked as an assistant to sculptor Tony Smith (American, 1912–1980) before attending the Cooper Union in New York, and graduating with a BFA in 1965. He began teaching at the Cooper Union in 1969, and later taught sculpture at Columbia University. Wilmarth first created works in wood, but preferred sculpting with glass plates and metal. He enjoyed experimenting with the illusory properties of glass, manipulating the shape and the thickness of glass elements to play with the luminosity and opacity of the material, and frequently created sculptures with sparse geometric forms. Wilmarth was particularly inspired by the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, whose views on the intimate relationship between form and spirituality affected Wilmarth’s philosophy about sculpture. In addition to his three-dimensional work, Wilmarth created many drawings and works on paper echoing the aesthetics of his sculpture. He exhibited his work frequently in New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and had a devoted circle of enthusiasts of his work. Suffering from an increasing depression, he committed suicide in 1987; the Museum of Modern Art opened a major retrospective of his work soon after. During his lifetime, Wilmarth was awarded several fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Timeline

1943
Born in Sonoma, CA
1965
B.F.A., Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
1969
Professor of Sculpture and Drawing, Cooper Union, New York, NY
1986
Professor of Sculpture, Columbia University, New York, NY
1987
Died in Brooklyn, NY

Exhibitions

2005
Glass, Seriously, Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY, April 14 – June 27
2003
Christopher Wilmarth Gift of the Bridge: Related Drawings and Sculpture, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, MA, March 29 – May 3
2003
Christopher Wilmarth: Drawing into Sculpture, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, April 5 – June 29
2003
Christopher Wilmarth Inside Out, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, October 15 – November 15
2002
More Than Skin & Bones, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, MA, March 16 – April 20
2001
Christopher Wilmarth: Sculpture and Drawings, University Gallery, Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA, February 3 – March 16; April 1 – May 18
2001
Christopher Wilmarth, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL, September 20 – November 3
2000
Christopher Wilmarth: Every Shadow Had a Song to Sing, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY, April 6 – May 6 (CD: Christopher Wilmarth “California’s Not to Blame”)
2000
Minding Glass, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA, July 17 – September 29
1999–2000
Surroundings; Responses to the American Landscape, Selections from The Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, June 6, 1999 – June 1
1999
Another Form: Drawings Into Sculpture, New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, New York, October 14 – November 13
1999
Then & Now: The Nielsen Gallery 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, January 9 – February 20
1998
DeNaturalized, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, February 14 – July 4
1998
Edward R. Broida Collection: A Selection of Works Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL, March 12 – June 21
1998
Layers Clearings Breath, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, MA, April 8 – May 9
1997
Christopher Wilmarth: Sculpture and Painting from the 1960s and 1980s, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY, March 18 – April 19
1997
Recent Acquisitions The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1995
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
1994
DIA Center for the Arts, Bridgehampton, NY
1993
Nielsen Gallery, Boston
1992
Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York
1989
Christopher Wilmarth/Days on Blue 1977, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, NY
1989
Christopher Wilmarth, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1986
Christopher Wilmarth: Delancey Backs (and Other Moments)Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, NY
1984
Christopher Wilmarth: Layers, Works from 1961 – 1984, Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, NY
1980
Christopher Wilmarth: Gnomon’s Parade, The Studio for the First Amendment, New York, NY
1979
Christopher Wilmarth Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
1978
Christopher Wilmarth: Recent Sculpture, The Studio for the First Amendment, New York, NY
1978
Christopher Wilmarth: Sculpture and Drawings, Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, New York, NY