M. Annie Kilborn


Medium/Materials: Sterling silver, 78 magpie skulls, 2 kingfisher skulls, gemstones

Dimensions: 108 x 8 x 2 inches

Year: 2016

Artist Statement: 

My work examines romanticized representations of feminine beauty, and how western history, art and popular culture dictate our perception of what this venerated beauty is. By considering the appealing and revolting aspects of vanity, I am questioning whether attempts to capture contemporary notions of physical attractiveness are futile, or whether masquerading becomes an important aspect of navigation in an ego driven society. I am fascinated with how the pursuit of glamour – as exploited by fashion, adornment, cosmetics, grooming, surgical modifications, and other alterations of the body – both reveals, as well as masks, one’s character. My work is inspired by vanitas, a term associated with the sixteenth century eccentric hybrid of medieval memento mori artworks and Dutch still-life painting. Vanitas is a reflection on the delicacy of life, the hollowness of vanity and death’s inescapable certainty. Vanitas has new and added implications in a postmodernist world where judgments of who we are and how we are perceived are often made by physical appearance and material accumulation, instead of by ethical and humanitarian accomplishment. Our lives are invaded with materiality and consumerism, creating an atmosphere where greed and desire dominate twenty-first century living. Though these issues have been existed since the dawn of civilization, I am both intrigued and horrified by their abundance in contemporary society. We are mortal; changing and aging is certain. Life is fleeting and death’s shadow is persistent. With my work, I am questioning what is important to legacy: modesty and humility, or glamour and opulence.

Artist Biography:

M. Annie Kilborn is a metalsmith, sculptor, jeweler and educator who currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Kilborn received a BFA in Art Metals with a minor in Art History and a focus in Sculpture in 2010, and an MA in Sculpture in 2011 from Ball State University. She also received an MA and an MFA in Art Metals from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2016. Her work has been included in the both international and national group shows including “Alchemy 3: Vision +Passion +Creation” at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, “Materials: Hard and Soft” at the Greater Denton Art Council Center of the Visual Arts, Denton, TX, and “Gothic” at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, San Ana, CA. All of these exhibitions have catalogs, in which Kilborn’s work was included. She has also been published in the book “500 Silver Jewelry Designs” published by Larks Books. She received a SNAG Educational Endowment Scholarship in 2011, and won a NICHE Student Award for “Metals-Sculptural Nonfunctional” category in 2010.  

See more from this artist on their SNAG Maker Profile Page.