NEXT ARTIST: Deborah Smith

William Skrips

This exhibition commemorates our tenth year of representing Bill Skrips. He brings a sculptor's eye to these collections of odd assemblages that are his signature style, so it should come as no surprise that he has a degree in sculpture from New York's School of Visual Arts.

His work has been exhibited at The Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJ; The Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; and the Kohler Art Center, Kohler, WI, all institutions that have a special interest in found object and outsider art sculpture.

Skrips recently moved to the southwest United States, so his choices of materials will certainly be different than those available in the area around his New Jersey studio, where he worked for more than 20 years. But his work remains crisp and sure, and his materials well-edited, in the way that a poet carefully chooses which words work best with each other.


I grew up in a house filled with stuff, my dad being a pack rat. It always frustrated me to think that he was just letting all this stuff sit, whereas
I had plenty of imagined uses for it, not that he was willing to part with anything. Since there was not a lot of extra space, the few objects that I
"collected" were miniscule, now I suppose I make up for it by filling up the large building that I call my studio.Although I use relatively traditional methods to make the work, my greatest satisfaction comes from finding and then cobbling together foreign objects within my fabrications. The (unknown) history and character these objects bring to an assemblage can drive the whole piece. Using sometimes minimal and sometimes Herculean effort, the found object gets worked into the assemblage. Its traces, both spiritual and physical, remain within the finished product. Sometimes these traces are strong and sometimes they fade a bit, but, nonetheless, they retain their presence.
I have few qualms about using a particular method or combination of methods that will get me to a desired result when it comes to my work, the outcome often being a narrative image. I liken myself to a solver of problems, rather than a perfectionist with immutable standards. Here, the way I approach the work is like many of my Southern folk art heroes, or much like living a life: you just get it done.

To this day, I don't see what others would call a "mess” my studio is just a wonderful tumble of raw materials. I think of the studio as a part of my
head; literally, a creative space. Re-using discards and found objects has always had an appeal to me. Not only do I have a penchant for collecting
things, but the gratification that comes from giving reclaimed material new life is unique: at times I've equated it with matchmaking; finding the
perfect mate for this or that particular object. Sometimes in the process, things just pull together as if they were magnetic and sometimes it's
an empirical march through seemingly endless bad marriages: nothing seems to go together. But I keep trying.

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William Skrips, The Mallet, found wood, carved wood, rubber mallet, buggy wheels, toy wheels, gas tank, cord, tin and miscellaneous, 16"x 21"x 5", 2016

Click on the image above for a high-resolution version of this picture.

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