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the wilcox space

The Wilcox Space is a private installation space. It is also the loft where John Wilcox lived and painted for the last fifteen years of his life. The creation of The Wilcox Space sprang from a suggestion made by sculptor and artist James Magee during a meeting with Barry Whistler, Rick Brettell and Jim several months after Wilcox’s death. These three had known Wilcox for years and were enlisted to help consult about how best to proceed with Wilcox’s artistic estate. Work was underway to catalogue and photograph all of Wilcox’s canvases as well as boxes of drawings and sketchbooks he had stored in an old barn in Denison, Texas.   It was Magee, a long time friend of Wilcox’s and certainly no stranger to the importance of place and space, who mentioned he thought there should be a space for Wilcox’s works. Rick and Barry concurred immediately.

Wilcox always painted where he lived. The spaces he inhabited over the years whether in California, New York or in Texas were always kinetic environments in very subtle ways. They were ever-changing installations consisting of found objects, a rich library, small groupings of cultural ephemera, and the work of other artists he held dear. Objects in these spaces were always being arranged and rearranged in relationship to one another. At any one time one might find a collage of pieces of paper laid out on a small table, fossils, drying flowers or seed pods, feathers, or small discarded pieces of metal or knotted wood found on the shores of the Red River or Lake Texoma. Wilcox’s spaces took on a life of their own not unlike the slow, rhythmic ebb and flow of salinity in a tidal river.

In the months following the meeting with Magee, Brettell and Whistler The Wilcox Space was transformed from a loft and studio into an installation space where guest curators could exhibit Wilcox’s work. There are still smudges and drops of paint from Wilcox’s work on canvases on the cement floor. Gone, however, are the arrays of collected objects, the sparse furnishings, the dried and pressed leaves and flowers, the library, and Wilcox’s wide-ranging collection of contemporary art. What does remain is a space for Wilcox’s work, the essence of who he was as an artist. With all the ephemera of a life lived removed, this space is Wilcox’s last ever-changing installation in the space where he lived and painted; using the works he created to capture how he saw the world.

The Wilcox Space is located at 824 Exposition Avenue #9 in Dallas, a short walk from the Centennial Esplanade of the State Fair. Arrangements to view the Space and the current installation are by appointment only through Barry Whistler Gallery, 214-939-0242.

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