Tyler Wilkinson ’12 named artist in residence at Manifest Gallery
Since graduating in May, Tyler Wilkinson ’12 has gotten important recognition for his artwork.
Wilkinson was recently named the first artist in residence at the Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. Along with the award, Wilkinson will have free studio space at the gallery for the next year, where his work will be on display.
Word of the residency came to Wilkinson through a Centre connection.
“Emil Robinson ’03, a Cincinnati-based artist and friend, brought the award to my attention. I began preparing a portfolio in preparation for the announcement of the application process,” Wilkinson says. “I was fortunate to have the assistance of Sheldon Tapley, Stoghill Professor of Art, during the arduous process of preparing images and writing letters of intent and artist statements.”
Tapley knows why the Manifest Gallery was impressed with Wilkinson’s art.
“Ty’s works are not only very accomplished, but ambitious on a scale usually seen only in the work of much more experienced artists,” Tapley says. “The jury at Manifest Gallery certainly understood that, which is why he, a relatively young artist, was chosen above so many other competitors.”
When it comes to selecting subjects for his art, Wilkinson finds inspiration in the everyday.
“My paintings are directly inspired from my experiences in day-to-day life. The work I’ve been creating since graduation is very evident of this. The work ranges from still life objects to figurative paintings and drawings that all have direct ties to reality and my experiences of it,” Wilkinson says.
Tapley praises Wilkinson for his skill, his study of the craft and his ability to connect to the viewer.
“Ty is a remarkably talented painter. He particularly excels at depicting the human figure, one of the most difficult challenges in art,” Tapley says. “He is more than simply skillful, though. The paintings are very sophisticated because he has seriously studied the work of many historical and contemporary artists–other painters, critics and jurors can see that. The works also appeal to a wider audience because of his empathy for his subject. Ty is sensitive to the underlying emotions in a simple scene, which might be an otherwise forgotten moment in daily life, and he is able to present that beautifully.”
Since his residency began in June, Wilkinson has enjoyed becoming part of a larger community of artists.
“The experience has far exceeded my expectations. Cincinnati is home to a strong group of passionate artists working in a representational style not too dissimilar from mine. I have had the opportunity to work aside them, learn from them, and be influenced by the diversity of thought and process that they, as a whole, express,” Wilkinson says. “It’s the relationships I have built with artists and art enthusiasts that have made the experience exceptional.”
When reflecting on the greatest aspect of the residency, Wilkinson finds it hard to single out just one.
“To pick one is like asking me to pick my favorite paintbrush,” he says. “One favorite, though, is the regular life drawing sessions I attend as part of the award twice a week. During the drawing sessions, I work alongside a group of creative, hardworking individuals. While the skill level ranges from novice to professional, the passion for drawing remains constant amongst all members. It’s inspiring and informative.”
Wilkinson cites Tapley and the Centre art program for helping him become the Manifest’s artist in residence as well as the painter he is today.
“It is because of Centre and Sheldon Tapley that I was able to compete. Sheldon is a truly remarkable instructor. Aside from his exceptional teaching ability, it’s his passion for the craft, passion for sharing, and his desire to see growth in his students,” Wilkinson says. “He extends himself further than the job requires, giving everything.
“I often tell friends and other artists that Centre’s painting and drawing program is the best undergraduate program I’ve seen,” Wilkinson continues. “While most undergraduate painting and drawing programs focus on ‘theory’ and ‘concept’ prematurely, Centre’s program provides the skills necessary for the fulfillment of expression, theory and concept at a later date. This is evident in painting, ceramics and glass classes. Sheldon Tapley, Judith Jia and Stephen Powell are exceptional. I owe all of them my greatest praise, appreciation and respect.”