Ainsley Wilcock

My work is concerned with the grotesque as it relates to the body trace.

My work is concerned with the grotesque as it relates to the body trace. Relying on the interaction and co-presence of humour, horror, play and terror, excess and sparsity, my art fuses the grotesque aesthetic with seemingly incongruous categories of images and forms. Clothing and unstable bodily materials provide transient territories to explore ideas of presence and absence.
I am drawn to the grotesque as a category that emerges when established boundaries are compromised. The grotesque generates deformation and monstrosity in the coming together of what should be kept apart; the sense that something is illegitimately in something else.

In my work grotesque images or objects fuse and confuse form, breaking down physical and psychological boundaries that might be applied to understanding the liminal space of the body through clothing, skin, hair, sweat and sebum, all of which are transient and prone to change.

I am interested in how a grotesque aesthetic and image tradition has often been one of excess. My drawings are intricate yet minimal in both subject matter and composition. Working on a scale that relates to the body, I often allow for gaping human-sized voids in my drawings.

My interest in absence in relation to the body and the corporeal trace leads me to consider whether it is possible for the grotesque to be found in sparsity. I wish to question the limits of the grotesque; where it begins and at what point it ceases to be.

The grotesque relationship to presence and absence can also found in the shadow play and puppety, muppety nature of my subject matter. Shaggy, feathery, leathery, animalistic clothing and skin-like materials rendered into exaggerated, anthropomorphic forms intend to evoke a haunting yet absurd combination. In my drawings and sculptural installations I have drawn from traditions in grotesque art that have historically combined human, animal, plant and architectural imagery into strange and incongruous hybrid creatures. I am similarly interested in “The Theatre of the Grotesque”, or rather its visual ploys and manifestations, as an extension of both the grotesque and a play on notions of what is real and not real, through extravagance, exaggeration and at the same time disquieting absences.

Transgression of the body’s boundaries through the shedding of the body is key to my work. Frankensteinian in practice and subject matter, my work is a series of composites, in that they allow for potential, simultaneous readings and associations.

The current direction of my work has been to explore how the grotesque is best understood by what it does, not what it is. The grotesque serves my art not only as an aesthetic category but also as a methodology. These ideas and investigations into the grotesque inform the basis of my Master of Fine Arts Research at UNSW Art & Design.

www.ainsleywilcock.com

Courtesy the artist.

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