Ryan Wilks to showcase new multimedia project With Hold Me on Sept. 11


Local artist Ryan Wilks has announced a Sept. 11 exhibition to be hosted at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center’s Dungeon Gallery from 7-10 p.m., with a live performance set for 8 p.m. that evening.

Wilks will use this event to showcase their newest work, consisting of a series of paintings from With Hold Me—a book of poetry written during the pandemic that examines the artist’s experiences through “love, loss, and a deep dive into highly sexualized content.” 

“I was dumped at the height of the pandemic. Naturally, I wrote a book and made a body of work about it,” Wilks says. “This work is a celebration of sex and grief during lockdown.”

One-of-a-kind, hand-printed copies of the book will be available for sale at the event. These copies were produced by Wilks along with Claire Monroe (aka Clorg).

A second event, also hosted at Leedy-Voulkos, will follow Oct. 9. Here, Wilks plans to reveal the second part of their project with Manifesto, an audiobook centered around the theme of finding sexual liberation during COVID-19. The second showing features a presentation from impresario Tim J Harte of Mother Russia Industries prior to Wilks’ own live reading, with musical accompaniment courtesy of flutist Lena Dannov. 

Wilks, a self-taught artist based in Kansas City, promoted their last project in the fall—a gallery show titled Heaven at Smalter Gallery. Their 2019 show, Hell was listed among The Pitch’s Best of 2019. Their body of work explores themes including religious commentary, gender and queer ideologies, spirituality, and sexuality.

The artist warns that these works are not family-friendly, but rather “truthful accountings by an artist who explores his sexual prowess, while making himself vulnerable around lovers and other strangers.” 

Categories: Art