Documentary | 2021 |USA | 62 min | Digital
John Wilcox: The Relinquishment of Time
When an artist dies, what happens to their artwork? This is the story of one man’s journey to posthumously archive and exhibit his brother’s artistic estate, and a window into the personal motives behind minimalist art.
FILMED & EDITED BY: Exploredinary
PRODUCED BY: The Ioannes Project
PREMIERES: Hill Country Film Festival 2021
When abstract painter John Wilcox died in 2012, he left behind a massive collection of artworks. John didn’t leave behind instructions for what to do with his life’s work though. Instead, that decision was inherited by his brother David Wilcox who set off on a multiyear journey to memorialize John by having the works archived, cataloged, and exhibited.
THE ART OF JOHN WILCOX
John Wilcox The Relinquishment of Time brings new life to the artist’s body of work. It reveals how experience shapes decisions and process. And helps audiences to understand that every stroke of the paintbrush can hold meaning. But more importantly, the film reveals that family and brotherhood can be a form of art itself. An artform that nourishes the soul, enlightens the mind and brings life to the body.
Discover more of John's art at:
CURATORS, HISTORIANS, & EXPERTS
“John’s work works in both ways – both as apparently cool and apparently uninvolved with the emotional aspect of the world,” said Dr. Richard Brettell, founder of the Edith O’Donnell institute of Art History at the University of Texas-Dallas. “[But] then as you plummet it and get to know about the mark makings and [John’s] reasons for doing things you begin to understand that it too is an art which has as much depth as any work by Van Gogh or Delacroix.”
We are a filmmaking couple comprised of: Sarah Reyes and Daniel Driensky, and our collaborative is called Exploredinary. The documentary work that we pursue is primarily focused around arts and culture.
We were initially introduced to David Wilcox in 2017 as he was hoping to document an exhibit at the Wilcox Space prior to its dismantling. We visited the space and were struck with the quality of the paintings as well as the prestigious curatorial work involved.
Initially, we had no frame of reference for minimalist art, but as David began to share personal stories of his brother, John, the more it brought the work to life for us, and the more our understanding and appreciation for the art form grew. We knew that sharing John's story could also help others gain an appreciation for this underrepresented genre.
Working on a posthumous documentary was particularly challenging because our main character was unavailable for commentary. This created a situation where we were forced to seek experts in various fields to help us piece together who John really was; historically, as an artist, and as a human being.
We were led down a path that would change our lives forever. John's philosophy of life was revealed to us slowly through his friends, family and the historians that researched his work. We were touched by the struggles he endured, and inspired by the obstacles he overcame through his art.
Although we never met John, we feel like we can reach out and sense his presence. The sound of his voice echoes in our thoughts as we recall quotes from the recordings he left behind, and continues to provide us with valuable lessons.
Above all, John has modeled bravery and authenticity for us. He came to terms with being gay in rural Texas, he developed a serious art practice in a difficult field, he lived through the AIDS epidemic in NYC, and he was afflicted with serious medical conditions that brought his life to an early end. Despite it all, he never gave up on being himself, never wavered at pursuing the art he was so passionate about - something we can all learn from.
THE DOCUMENTARY CAST
DR. DAVID WILCOX
Brother of John Wilcox
DR. SARAH KOZLOWSKI
Associate Director Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History
DR. RICHARD BRETTELL
January 17, 1949 - July 24, 2020
Director Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History
Former Director of the DMA
Associate Paintings Conservator at the DMA
Painter, sculptor, poet, known for The Hill
Photographer, friend of John Wilcox
Owner at Barry Whistler Gallery
Friend of John Wilcox
Editor, The Athenaeum Review