Professional Practice

“Material sustainability is a fast-evolving addition to my practice. Being mindful of the resources I use and re-inventing to reduce art waste in a throw-away society.” – Karen Wilde, 2019.

Karen Wilde is a visual artist based in New Zealand who uses mixed-mediums and methodical experimental processes to study object materiality, space and the surround. She occasionally incorporates digital materials such as projection work and audio during exhibitions for immersive viewing experiences. Her latest project, The Hole Ontology, examines holes in relation to sound, object, body and space:

“My sculptural work is an ontological study of holes and their symbiotic negative and positive relationship with space. Distorting the pictorial language of compositional holes and figurative forms into non-objective sculptures. This is achieved by a very process-driven method of making: pushing the clay with blunt objects and creating unified tension in materials through increased proximity. The resulting objects resemble unidentifiable cells, fossils, organic forms. I am the puppeteer of these objects. Carefully architecting the scale and the space they occupy.

These negative spaces require a surrounding host to exist, acknowledging the materiality of that host and the immaterial quality of the hole itself. The space around the host is what I consider the void (and separate to the hole) as the void can exist without objects. It surrounds these immaterial bodies and their hosts which I have suspended in time.

The questions around holes and space extend to the treatment of my other project materials, such as sound. What are holes in sound? I approached this in the same process-driven method of making my sculptures. Using reverb, static, echoes and periods of stillness to create traces of a sound. A sound that no longer plays but the memory lingers in its absence.

My interest in using sound as a medium within my sculptural practice has led to the development of Sonic-object Somatic Expression – a notion I invented: the materiality of sound when combined with object-oriented art. Presenting both analogue and digital processes to find a balanced critical distance. These processes should not fight for attention but instead, work in unison to mimic a fantasized state of immersion.

This relationship of sound, object, space and body is established through a multi-layered approach to dissecting and analysing both my sound materials and physical objects. Incidentally reflecting the rabbit hole of philosophical theories concerning the existence of holes.”
– Karen Wilde, 2021.

Karen Wilde continues to explore both hole ontology and material sustainability with concepts for projects commencing 2022, such as experimental processes of introducing bioplastics to her sculptural works – inspired by the humorous take of using “fermented organic materials” to create sculptures during New Zealand’s Delta outbreak lockdown: click here to find out more about this quirky medium and current Installation in progress.

Karen Wilde, 09-2021, Individual piece for ‘The Hole Ontology: (Mark II’), sourdough bread, acrylic paints in blue and gold, 19x10cm.

Gallery items may be available for purchase (excluding private collection) or group exhibition (includes private collection) on request: