Nathanial Gilchrist

MFA, Sculpture

Artist Statement

Nathanial Gilchrist is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the cultural identity of Midwest America. Stuck somewhere between here and there, the ambiguous geographical borders have created a regional limbo for the Midwest. No longer west enough to be The West, we’ve been
consolidated into the social concept of America’s Heartland.

Out with the Boys – League Night is an investigation into the sport of bowling and its significance to Midwestern socialization. With its friendly, rowdy atmosphere, the bowling alley is the “pub-lite” of every town. When dark, harsh winters arrive, the brightly lit bowling lanes fill up. They are a refuge, an oasis for the middle class. Bowling leagues provide an exclusive environment, allowing its members to escape the redundancies of everyday life by giving working folks a chance to focus on something else—bowling perfection: the elusive 300 game. It is a generous sport, however; skill level is equalized for bowlers with the inclusion of a handicap system, giving everyone a fair chance to beat their opponents. And when it’s not your turn to bowl? You reminisce with the people around you. Drinking, gambling, and smoking are taboos deemed acceptable during league night. Bowling is not without its problems, but the blow-risk, highly social activity fosters competitiveness while promoting camaraderie amongst hard working Midwesterners.

Following in the footsteps of my working class bowling peers, these works are made from materials commonly associated with construction, carpentry, and plumbing. The scale and weight of the objects is a nod to male overcompensation through material goods. As large sculptures they comment on masculinity and male social relationships. The trophy pedestals elevate the sculptural narratives to a realm of achievement, but the cheap materials used to finish the objects calls attention to the superficiality of these stories.

Why Aren’t You Here When It’s Your Turn, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Holographic Paper, Spray Paint, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x34″x87″

Hawkeye, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Fabric Tape, Spray Paint, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x32″x63″

Hunnicut, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Spray Paint, Oil Pastel, Sharpie, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 26″x32″x60″

One Foot in the Frying Pan, the Other in the Pressure Cooker, 2021
Wood, PVC, Plexiglass, Spray Paint, and Hydrographic Film Pattern, 51″x51″x5.5″

Should Coulda Woulda Doesn’t Knock ‘Em Down, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Spray Paint, Steel, Brass, Hydrographic Film Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x34″x90″

Where are We Today?, 2021
Wood, PVC, Enamel, and Ink, 216″x98″x4.5″

Hawkeye and Hunnicut , 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Spray Paint, Oil Pastel, Sharpie, Fabric Tape, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 26″x32″x60″

Nathanial Gilchrist

MFA, Sculpture

Artist Statement

Nathanial Gilchrist is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the cultural identity of Midwest America. Stuck somewhere between here and there, the ambiguous geographical borders have created a regional limbo for the Midwest. No longer west enough to be The West, we’ve been
consolidated into the social concept of America’s Heartland.

Out with the Boys – League Night is an investigation into the sport of bowling and its significance to Midwestern socialization. With its friendly, rowdy atmosphere, the bowling alley is the “pub-lite” of every town. When dark, harsh winters arrive, the brightly lit bowling lanes fill up. They are a refuge, an oasis for the middle class. Bowling leagues provide an exclusive environment, allowing its members to escape the redundancies of everyday life by giving working folks a chance to focus on something else—bowling perfection: the elusive 300 game. It is a generous sport, however; skill level is equalized for bowlers with the inclusion of a handicap system, giving everyone a fair chance to beat their opponents. And when it’s not your turn to bowl? You reminisce with the people around you. Drinking, gambling, and smoking are taboos deemed acceptable during league night. Bowling is not without its problems, but the blow-risk, highly social activity fosters competitiveness while promoting camaraderie amongst hard working Midwesterners.

Following in the footsteps of my working class bowling peers, these works are made from materials commonly associated with construction, carpentry, and plumbing. The scale and weight of the objects is a nod to male overcompensation through material goods. As large sculptures they comment on masculinity and male social relationships. The trophy pedestals elevate the sculptural narratives to a realm of achievement, but the cheap materials used to finish the objects calls attention to the superficiality of these stories.

Why Aren’t You Here When It’s Your Turn, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Holographic Paper, Spray Paint, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x34″x87″

Hawkeye, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Fabric Tape, Spray Paint, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x32″x63″

Hunnicut, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Spray Paint, Oil Pastel, Sharpie, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 26″x32″x60″

One Foot in the Frying Pan, the Other in the Pressure Cooker, 2021
Wood, PVC, Plexiglass, Spray Paint, and Hydrographic Film Pattern, 51″x51″x5.5″

Should Coulda Woulda Doesn’t Knock ‘Em Down, 2021
Wood, Enamel, Spray Paint, Steel, Brass, Hydrographic Film Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 34″x34″x90″

Where are We Today?, 2021
Wood, PVC, Enamel, and Ink, 216″x98″x4.5″

Hawkeye and Hunnicut , 2021
Wood, Enamel, Hydrographic Film Pattern, Spray Paint, Oil Pastel, Sharpie, Fabric Tape, Holographic Paper, and Faux Stone Flooring, 26″x32″x60″

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