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 Michael Wilkinson  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: California/New York      Known for: Acrylic and bronze figurative sculpture-romantic realism

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Biography from GallArt.com:
Michael Wilkinson's early training was a unique preparation for his art.  While serving in the Air Force as an illustrator, he was posted in Japan, where he studied Japanese art and architecture.  The harmony and simple elegance of the Japanese aesthetic made an impression on the young artist and he worked to integrate its principles into his thinking.  The influence of classical western art was strengthened when, in 1978, he traveled to Europe.  There he studied the great works of the ancient Greeks and Michelangelo.

The result of these disparate influences is a synthesis of the strong classical heritage of the West and the refined simplicity of the East, evident in all of Wilkinson's work.  Upon his return from Europe he moved to New York City. While supporting himself, he worked alone at mastering the fundamentals of sculpture and modeling images that reflected his evolving ideas about art.  Years earlier he had read The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand and had become interested in her ideas about a category of art called Romantic Realism.  Now he began integrating a radical, consciously held aesthetic theory with his art.

Leaving a career in architecture in Carmel, California, Wilkinson moved east with hopes of making sculpture his profession.  It was in 1985, in those early years of experimentation that Wilkinson, who had until then worked uniquely in bronze, was introduced to the young medium of cast acrylic.  Although developed in the late 1800's, acrylic was not available to the figurative sculptor until the early 1980's. Before that time, artists such as Louise Nevelson and Alexander Calder used acrylic in a constructionist manner cutting and gluing forms to create their works.

With the advent of new molding technology significantly increasing interest in acrylic by a broader spectrum of artists, it soon became the medium of choice to a handful of figurative sculptors seeking to communicate complex themes incorporating realism with their art.  Unlike the traditional, these acrylic sculptures have no beginning and no end; no back and no front.  They are viewed in a new way; studied and observed in their entirety from the inside and the outside. Working for nearly a decade in optically clear acrylic material, Wilkinson constantly expands his talents to sculpt "light" in original ways.  He has advanced the art form into unique patterns of optical illusion and captured our attention both aesthetically and emotionally.

Michael Wilkinson's sculpture appears in many private and public art collections and is exhibited in fine art galleries worldwide.  He lives and works in New York City and attends several one-man exhibitions of his work per year.

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