Five Alive: Skye Gilkerson

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Skye Gilkerson shares a bit about her practice and tells us about her current residency in France.

Installation view from a recent exhibition

From Skye's artist statement:
Through location-specific installation, video and drawing, I combine divergent elements from the places I have lived to study the social implications and possibilities of these relationships, as well as our relationship to nature. Having lived most of my life in the big-empty-quiet of rural, central United States, I am drawn to the potential of open spaces. I look for abandoned structures and overlooked regions: the places in the periphery that are unmonitored and less defined.

I use subtle interventions, constructed from ordinary, often ubiquitous materials, to unfold our awareness of our surroundings and destabilize familiar structures. Space, time, light, and language, as well as architecture, landscape, and changes in the weather, all become the materials for this exploration. 

Skye Gilkerson.  Photo by Jenny Kutnow .

Skye Gilkerson. Photo by Jenny Kutnow.

Skye Gilkerson’s work has been shown in solo, two person, and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across the US including the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Temple University Gallery in Philadelphia, and the The Wassaic Project in New York. Skye was awarded a Smack Mellon Studio Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and Artist Residency Grants with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the La Napoule Art Foundation. Skye received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

What is your favorite art making tool?

I use different media for different projects, so I suppose the tool is resourcefulness or experimentation. I also seem to have a preternatural connection to adhesives of all kinds.

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

In the studio I like to listen to Radiolab and other podcasts. Joanna Newsom and Dirty Three have also been on high rotation lately.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

For unparalleled levels of quiet, I visit the farm in rural South Dakota where I was raised. When I need a more regular dose of peace and quiet, I like popping into libraries and cathedrals and other such spaces of enforced quietness and thoughtful architecture. I also wear earplugs all the time to turn the subway into a reading room.

Skye's studio at the LNAF Residency in France

Where is your next dream travel destination?

The amazing key to Skye's studio

I am currently in a pretty dreamy travel destination, at a residency in the south of France.

Below my studio is a crypt where the founders of the art center are buried. Above my studio is a room without stairs where they meet in the afterlife. I inhabit the space in between.

After my residency, I am actually headed to my true dream travel destination. For years I have wanted to visit the Swiss home and museum of one of my favorite artists, Emma Kunz, and I am very excited to be going there next, and then onto Stuttgart and Berlin.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?

I am drawn to a soft color palette and tend to use a lot of transparency, light and reflection. At this moment my favorite color is the amazing cyan of the Mediterranean sea.







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