Born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Cathy Wilkes trained at Glasgow School of Art and is part of the generation of artists who emerged in the mid-1990s. Wilkes is primarily known for her large-scale installations of seemingly disparate objects, many of which are distressed, damaged, altered or adapted. Her ensembles slowly evolve out of a working method that begins with the meticulous collection and selection of materials and ends with the measured task of arrangement, re-arrangement, making and re-making. The refined, physical manifestations of a continual process of intellectual introspection and existential questioning, Wilkes’s installations explore the multiplicity of meanings, both personal and universal, that objects are capable of evoking, or representing. Cathy Wilkes is also a painter. Her predominantly abstract works on canvas tend to mirror the intensive labour that goes into her installations – the canvases are worked on, set aside, scraped clean and worked on again. Previously incorporated into her sculptural environments, Wilkes’s paintings have gained greater autonomy in recent years.
Cathy Wilkes (b. 1966, Belfast) lives and works in Glasgow. She represented Great Britain at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 after having represented Scotland in 2005. She also participated in the International Exhibition of the Biennale in 2013 and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2008 and was awarded the inaugural Maria Lassnig Prize in 2017. Wilkes’s work was recently the subject of a touring exhibition that began at Tate Liverpool (2015) and travelled to LENTOS Kunstmuseum, Linz and the Museum Abteiberg, Moenchengladbach (2015–2016). Other solo exhibitions include MoMA PS1, New York (fall 2017); Tramway, Glasgow (2014) and The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2012).