Mary Wilhelm ( She / Her / Hers )

Artist Statement

“[B]ereavement renders incoherent the stories of our lives with those who died and undermines both the self-identity and the sense of meaning and purpose we previously found in those stories”. This rehabilitation of a shattered world, involving the reimagining of the past, and attempts to imagine an acceptable future capable of integration with that past, is a gradual and fragmented process”. -- Joseph Boughey, edited by Gerry Smyth and Jo Croft, Our House; The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture.

My work incorporates and aims to speak to experiences which possess a deep emotional resonance. After experiencing varying degrees of loss for most of my life, my work has been deeply influenced by personal memories. Such memories are recalled through objects, family videos and photos, and the collective memories shared with lost, past, and present relationships. 

The work questions and embraces the life of objects, an object’s materiality, the tangled nature of relationships, and memory. In hopes of not forgetting, I attempt to connect my lost child-like perceptions with the awareness of my adult emotions and fears in relation to the everyday complexities of life, death, and grief. This juxtaposition is illustrated by the mundane and or overlooked moments such as; an early worm, the sweetness of strawberries, the life of an animal, interpersonal relationships, intimate vessels, and words left unsaid.


Wilhelm holds a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art ‘18 from the University of Saint Francis and a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics ‘21 from Illinois State University. Her work was exhibited in the National Juried Student Exhibition at the 2021 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference in Cincinnati, OH. In 2019, Wilhelm was included amongst the McLean County Arts Center’s Emerging Artists Exhibition in Bloomington, Illinois. She has also exhibited in many group exhibitions throughout Central Illinois and Northeastern Indiana.