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Dr Mark Wilsher

I am an artist, educator, critic and curator with a particular expertise in sculpture and the politics of social engagement.

This was the subject of my AHRC-funded doctoral research and several feature articles for Art Monthly magazine. I have exhibited at galleries including the ICA and the Henry Moore Institute and curated exhibitions in many publicly-funded and alternative spaces. My current research explores the sociology of the art world and the way that fine art finds its way into everyday culture, from mass-market reproductions to the cliché of the artist’s beret.

My work is based on the belief that art is a social process and takes place in a socially-embedded context in relation to its various audiences. I work in a wide range of media including sculpture, installation, video, live performance and text, and have also curated other artists’ projects for galleries and public spaces (Artist Boss 2016). Recent projects include a controversial intervention in the historic painting collections at Norwich Castle Museum & Galleries (Five Paintings 2023-24) and curating an exhibition of domestic sculptures in an empty suburban house (Things 2022).

As an educator I have given papers on methodologies within fine art, the recent emergency shift to digital, and the impossibility of practice-only PhDs. I have published a study of the one-to-one tutorial within fine art, a history of artist-run spaces in Norwich, and am currently working on a longitudinal study of the identity transformation from ‘fresher’ to ‘artist’.

I was Chief External Examiner for the Creative Practice & Transmedia Board at the University of Westminster (2015-18) and have supervised two PhD candidates to completion. I work with staff across the whole university and have particular interests in belonging, community and student motivation.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2023-24: Five Paintings, Norwich Castle Museum and Galleries
  • 2023: How art is used/The Bohemians, OUTPOST project space
  • 2015: Everyone is a Curator, The Minories, Colchester
  • 2013-14: Gallery Shots, Chelsea College of Art, touring to the Royal College of Art, University of the Creative Arts Canterbury, and the University of Brighton
  • 2013: One Night Biographical Retrospective, Queen of Hungary project space, Aylsham
  • 2010: The Yesable Proposition OUTPOST, Norwich
  • 2008 & 2009: Unfinished Business Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and CHELSEA Space
  • 2005: The History of Sculpture Chapman Gallery, Salford University

Group Exhibitions, Performances & Projects

  • 2022: Things, Norwich
  • 2020: MK Calling Milton Keynes Gallery
  • 2018: Ecstasy in Norwich Lower Green, Norwich
  • 2017: Public Art Study Day, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts
  • 2016-17: Artist Boss, New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury
  • 2016: Buffet d’Art Meinblau Projektraum, Kunsthaus Meinblau Berlin, & AmbikaP3 London 
  • 2011: Off the Record Resonance FM, Curated by RCA curating course
  • 2010: Wysing Contemporary: Presents Wysing Arts Centre
  • 2009: Father Figures: Responses to mid-century modernism Leeds Art Gallery
  • 2009: 100 Days: Speakers corner Arnolfini, Bristol
  • 2009: Down at the Bamboo Club Picture This, Spike Island, Bristol
  • 2009: Talk Show ICA, London cat.
  • 2008: A Staged Dissent RADAR at Loughborough University
  • 2007: Peer Esteem Five Years, London
  • 2007: Drawing on Sculpture Leeds Art Gallery cat.
  • 2006: Shibboleth Dilston Grove, London cat.
  • 2006: That’s us / Wild combination Three Colts Gallery, London
  • 2006: 60th Anniversary Show Gimpel Fils, London
  • 2006: After Art School, London Gallery West cat.
  • 2005: EAST International 05 Norwich Gallery cat.
  • 2004: Do Something Floating ip, Manchester, curated by Dave Beech
  • 2004: MacDuff Interiors Jeffrey Charles Gallery, with Jane Simpson

Critical Writing

  • 2021: “Taking the Art School Online”, at Online Education: Responding to a crisis, and more… AMPS and Routledge
  • 2020: The Absence of Presence, Art Monthly no.440
  • 2020: The Phantom Practice-Only Thesis, Journal of Writing in Creative Practice Vol13, No.2
  • 2019: Virtual, and Other Bodies, Art Monthly no.427
  • 2018: “Research or Production? The Problem of Methodology in Fine Art” at The Creative Image, Visual Research Network, University of Manchester
  • 2018: Vincent Fecteau, Art Monthly no.417
  • 2017: Interfaith Charity ShopArt Monthly no.411 
  • 2016: Artist Boss: Anthony Caro’s studio assistants and issues of legacy in British Sculpture Wunderkammer Press
  • Autumn 2015: Contemporary Art in the News Dandelion Vol 6 no.1
  • 2014: Equal & Opposite (interview with Richard Tuttle) Art Monthly no. 382
  • July/August 2014: Lost & Found Art Monthly no.378
  • September 2013: Archives Digital vs Print Art Monthly no.369
  • July/August 2012: Out of Many, One Art Monthly no.358
  • 2012: Negotiated Text Works The Lead and the Invalid, Banner Repeater
  • 2011: Gillick, Opie, Turnbull (Opie, Gillick) Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy
  • Nov 2009: Beyond Public Art Art Monthly no.331
  • Sept 2006: Plywood Utopias Feature article, Art Monthly no.299
  • May 2005: Against Explanation Feature article Art Monthly no.286
  • 2005: The Aesthetics of the Text Catalogue essay for About Beauty Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt Berlin
  • Oct 2004: Judgement Call Feature article Art Monthly no.280

Other Activities

  • 2018-present: Director of the East Anglian Fine Art Study Centre

View more of Mark’s work on the Norwich University Repository