The Case Histories is a continuation of his existential and idiosyncratic time-based artist’s practice, begun in 2002 with his decade-long Making History series. These works deploy the framework of the Gregorian calendar as a means of incorporating the passage of time into the work itself. As Philippe Ducat noted in artpress April 2019, “It is a grid that could have been that of an imaginary artist in La Vie Mode d’Emploi by George Perec. The result is astounding.”
After developing vocabulary that incorporated portraiture, caricature, comics, typography, micrography, cartography, and musical code, in 2012 he made a dramatic departure in transforming a self-analytic process into an analytic one. He began inviting a correspondent each month to send him messages daily via email, text, or phone, which became the basis of his daily drawing practice. The relationship that developed over the course of each month became an opportunity to create a portrait both of the state of mind of his subject as well as a reflection of the relationship between artist and subject.
In 2017, while working with a group of psychiatrists from his own department at the Payne Whitney Clinic, Weill Cornell Medical College, he began to post each day’s work on Instagram along with a daily short text documenting reflections on his work process. Intended as a means of expanding his work process beyond the confines of the work on paper itself into the virtual realm, it also functions as an archive of his work made public.
For this exhibition, the artist chose to work in 2018 with a group of his fellow artists from the rosters of our own gallery as a reflection of his view of the unique community of artists that the gallery represents. The artists selected are: Dawn Clements, David Scher, Brian Dewan, Sarah Walker, Daniel Zeller, Darina Karpov, Joe Amrhein, Fred Tomaselli, Kate Gilmore, Ati Maier, William Lamson, Ward Shelley, and James Siena. In his ongoing efforts to expand the scope of his endeavor, he invited each artist to produce a responsa, a work in answer to their experience of this process and to include these works as part of the exhibition itself.
His subjects have included friends and family, artists, physicians, psychiatrists, scientists, writers, musicians and filmmakers. Past subjects include Darren Aronofsky, John Zorn, Okkyung Lee, and Betsy Sussler. He was selected to be an artist-in-residence at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute for 2015-16 and worked with a dozen space scientists on projects including the New Horizons Pluto Bypass Mission and the planning of the first manned mission to Mars. The work was included in the first SETI Biennial AIR exhibition at the New Museum Los Gatos. His work has been a subject of a solo exhibition at the Freud Museum, London. Work from The Case Histories has also been exhibited at Hales Gallery, London and Galerie Jean Brolly, Paris.
Wilner has exhibited widely and has had three prior one-person exhibitions with Pierogi, and two one-person exhibitions at Sperone Westwater. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions internationally including the Morgan Library and Museum, the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, and University Art Museum, University at Albany, State University of New York. His work is currently on view a group exhibition at Fundacion Banco Santander, Madrid, Spain. His work has been published extensively and is in many prominent collections including the Whitney, the Morgan Library Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum, New york, and the Vassar Art Library. Wilner grew up in New York City and is essentially self-taught as an artist. His academic background is in English literature as an undergraduate at Columbia College, medicine at New York University, psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Clinic/Weill Cornell Medical College, and as Scholar in Psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.