William Dilworth (AKA Wm. Dilworth, AKA Bill) is a painter with a social practice. Coined by the New York Times as the “Keeper of Earth and Time”, he has been the caretaker of Walter De Maria’s Earth Room for the Dia Art Foundation for over 30 years. He also takes care of the oldest tower clock in New York City’s Lower East Side. His studio is nestled behind the Earth Room.
Part document, part automatic writing, Dilworth’s CountMark series are made according to the number, sequence, and social cluster (family of four, class field trip, etc.) of visitors to The New York Earth Room from mid-September to mid-June. A mark is recorded for every visitor in sequence from top to bottom. The accumulation of these marks on a single page is a document of the visitors for each day. Dilworth has entire books of years that present a visual shorthand, wordlessly recording the passage of time, from days to months, to years. The individual CountMark drawings are done, alongside and in addition to the MARKS OF DAYS books, throughout the season. The relationship between De Maria’s earthwork, the cultural viewership of it, and Dilworth’s place between, sets the stage for a dialogue that transcends time.
New CountMark drawings will be posted the day they are done on Instagram, throughout the Earth Room season. Search @williamdilworth on Instagram. Days/weeks/months/seasons can be bought by reserve in advance.
Outside the studio, Dilworth photographs trees from a worm’s eye view, in a park or place that is charged with memory for the artist. His WovenLimbs series are made by combining multiple views of a leafless canopy of trees into a larger loose grid. The whole has an “all over” composition with limbs cropped where the paper ends. The artist continues the lines of these abbreviated limbs so that one becomes the next, as if woven together in an intricate web. From a distance this goes unnoticed, it is only upon closer examination that the idealism of this act reveals itself. Dilworth makes equally unconventional paintings by shuffling, scraping and smearing the tread on his shoes across the canvas. True to action painting, the artist’s gestures are a document of his time in space on the flatbed picture plane, creating vibrant paintings with unexpected compositions.
Born & educated in Detroit, Dilworth has lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for almost 40 years. In the 80’s he showed work in LES. In the 90’s he participated in group shows in Soho. More recently he had a solo exhibition of paintings at the Fox Gallery in Chelsea, and has shown work at Le Cneai outside of Paris. His work has been included in group exhibitions throughout the US including a pop-up hosted by Norte Maar, the Windows Gallery in the Adirondacks, Dartmouth, the Wagner College, and Ryota Pi gallery in Harlem, and several venues in Detroit including The Factory. His largescale WovenLimbs of Seward Park was showcased in Spring Fling hosted by Neesh at the Aquarius gallery in Ridgewood, Queens. Click here to see a WNYC Culture’s Video Profile of the artist.
Portraits courtesy of Jen Maler: www.jenmaler.com