Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Cathy Wilkes is a Glasgow-based artist who engages with feminist themes. She is known for sculpture and assemblage installations of mannikin-filled tableaux. Paintings are sometimes part of her installations.
Her 2005 piece “Non Verbal” consists of household wares and two female mannequins with small abstract canvases attached to their faces, one of which functions as a mask. Her focus is on family life, alienation, and transcendence. Wilkes renders infants, mothers, and grandmothers in papier-mâché and drapes them in found textiles. Arranged in domestic scenes stocked with old toys, towels, and clotheslines, her characters transmute the banalities and humdrum tasks of daily life into mysterious rituals.
Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions in London, Glasgow, Dublin, Berlin, and Zurich and in group shows in Edinburgh, London, Antwerp, and South Korea. She had her first solo exhibition at New York’s MoMA PS1, 2017-18. She will represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2019.