Carolyn Wirth’s sculpture explores how much gesture a figurative sculpture can shed and still retain emotional meaning. She documents the self, as it experiences spiritual states that range from stasis to the sublime. Open or closed eyes may be the only clue we have to a subject’s state of mind, like the altered portrait “I Read Emily Dickinson All Last Winter” in which the protagonist is literally mummified under layers of wax, half-closed eyes resting on a stack of manuscripts. Wirth does her own casting, and her work is about this process as much as the creation of a realistic figure: armatures, mold seams, and pieces of the mold itself are revealed and become abstract elements in the finished work. Mold flashing is kept in place like a corona around a head; holes and scratches are left unpatched. The finished figures give the impression that they are still in the process of being made, or else are on the verge of further decay, a continuum in the never-ending creation and alteration of an inner self.
Carolyn Wirth received her A.B. in art from Smith College, earned her M.A. in sculpture and environmental art from New York University, and now lives in the Boston area. She has been a member of Boston’s artist-run Kingston Gallery for 10 years and has produced commissions for the Melrose, Massachusetts public library, the City of Boston, and the Boston Childrens’ Museum. Her public sculpture has been reviewed by Christine Temin in the Boston Globe and Daniel Grant in the Boston Herald. In 2002 she received a Boston Cultural Council Artists Fellowship. Wirth’s current curatorial projects include “Small Obsession: Artist’s Dollhouses” for the Somerville Museum and “Worlds Apart” for ArtSpace Maynard. She documents methods of figurative sculpture and information about contemporary and historical women sculptors in her blog, http://wirthsculpture.wordpress.com. Information about her work can be found at www.carolynwirth.com.