Serious Levity: The Sculpture of Bill Skrips

Algebra | 17" x 13" x 3” | Found wood, wood cut out(s), collaged letters, miscellaneous

I stumbled upon Bill Skrips’ Instagram feed and was instantly taken with his work. While this work is loaded with clear references to the outsider and folk art traditions there’s a fluency to his vocabulary that betrays a much more sophisticated aesthetic. None of this should lead you to believe that the work is relying on an academic seriousness – while some of these pieces invoke a threatening tone, there’s a playfulness in the work that provides levity and buoyancy.
Following is a small selection of his work along with his thoughts on process and materials.
– Editor

Neso | 10″ x 9″ x 3.5″ | carved wood, tin, cloth, miscellaneous

Combining found objects, recycled and new materials with the influence of American Folk art, I try to forge a union between the humorous and the dark within my work. Carved and painted wooden forms dominate my assemblages, incorporating  my passion for both the three dimensional and the painterly.

“129 + 130″ | 13.5″ x 20.5” x 2” | Found wood, cloth, tin

Using found objects and discards has always had an attraction for me. Not only do I have a penchant for collecting stuff, but serious gratification comes to me from giving old or used material new life. Since I rarely work from sketches or planned drawings, the found objects that lie around the studio help me greatly in developing  pieces. 

In the Wall | 15” X 12” X 5″ | Carved and found wood, wire, cloth, rubber, miscellaneous (Stands or hangs)

After seeing a bit of my work, you can see how driven I am by objects/detritus and things that I “find”. I wonder how much of this is genetic, literally traceable to my father and his kind: “pack rats extraordinaire”. This surely goes back further to his/my European background, where bits of lint and wood and broken buttons and odd fragments became god knows what-all, saved for some effort of survival-a knitting of dust motes-whatever speck could be collected and added and then transformed…I seem to be on a similar track-it makes me wonder if those “relatives” got a similar pleasure when things they assembled actually gelled and a new thing, phoenix-like, was raised up from the dust.

Other People’s Planets | 20″ x 16″ x 4.5” | Found and painted wood, cloth, tin, miscellaneous

My process of creating is empirical/hit or miss, based on intuition more than any form of logic or prefigured drawing or concept. I combine painting, carving, modeling, welding, found bits and pieces and think of them all (both processes and objects) as materials almost magnetically drawn together and marching to a “finished” product. Titling pieces can be as difficult as creating them and this can come before or after the sculpture (or painting) is completed. 

Woodlander | 25.5″ x 9.5″ x 7” | Carved and found wood, tin, cloth, wrapped tree branch, miscellaneous

Sener | 21” X 7” X 6″ | Carved + found wood, tin, rubber

Talkin’ P.C. | 23″ x 14″ x 5.5” | Carved and found wood, cloth, miscellaneous. This piece hangs OR stands

Shiro | 22” X 15” X 3″ | Found wood, steel

Sound Check | 20” X 16” X 6″ | Carved and found wood, wheels, reclaimed box, doll hand

Tuffnel | 39” X 15” X 4″ | Found wood, cloth, miscellaneous

Inquiry | 16″ x 21″ x 4” | Found and assembled wood, wood scale

You can see more of Bill’s work at his website, as well as here and here on Instagram.