This week we welcome Will Kaplan, an artist/writer working with a variety of mediums, techniques, and text to probe boundaries. This New Jersey native grew up exploring highway hemmed nature preserves; tensions between the organic and the human-made manifest in his work. After graduating from Skidmore College in 2017 as an English major, Kaplan has made a home in Queens, a rich setting for the intersection of visual art and the written word. His work has appeared in Vellum Magazine and Passing Notes, and at the Spring/Break Art Fair. He mounted his first solo show at Local Project Gallery in Long Island City. In addition to organizing shows in alternative spaces, he works as a carpenter and art handler.
“My creations reflect a broad medium-less definition of “art.” As a producer and appreciator of visuals, literature, and music, my process gleans from other media to question the contours of a single form. This fusion approach lends my artwork a synaesthesia and musicality. Using a collage approach to incorporate printmaking, painting, and text, I design a sense of narrative which viewers can read and interpret differently.
Found materials feature in my work to literally channel my surroundings. My collage elements come from books or magazines found on city streets; objects in my assemblages, and wood that I carve for relief prints come from dumpsters. This habit began out of economic necessity, and I revel in the fact that these materials are free to all.
A range of textures and imagery nettle framed binaries, including the natural and human-made, presence and absence, personal and political, and gender. Through unexpected aesthetic juxtapositions, I both depict and critique our visually saturated world. By meshing printmaking methods, collage, drawing, and writing, I manipulate fixed elements to suggest individual and collective responses to the power structures which shape our daily lives. With emphasis on art as a mystical, transformative experience, I require it to be borderless, and adaptable to its surroundings and confines. I believe art ought to be an activity for all as well as a means of articulation, unification, and understanding.”