Paula Wilson


July 7 - August 1, 2018

The yuccas are blooming in the high desert plains, the apache plume in the hills. I go on a treasure hunt -- cutting through paintings, crossing the tracks, picking up clues. My manilla folder is filled with remnants of past artworks. They live with me. They find life in homes, gardens, and trails. They breathe; they have sex. They live on the land that has many names.
—Paula Wilson

Inspired by the broken, the discarded, and the thrown away, Paula Wilson remixes pieces of past artworks to assemble new possibilities. Wilson lives in Carrizozo, a tiny railroad town founded in 1899 in the high desert plains of New Mexico. Found pottery shards, rusted metal, broken glass, and plastic trash are reimagined as possibilities, puzzles and patterns. Remnants of her artistic production are printed, cut, pasted, and collaged— their meanings relationally transformed by prepositional shifts. PIECESCAPE generates a new economy of objects after they are abandoned— they riff— they gather to resuscitate one another’s lives, each working to mobilize refusal. Each piece is a doorway into an incalculable past. Here is a wild cacophony of escape—an outlaw’s myth refigured in jazz via improvisation and convivial collaboration. Those cast aside and deemed improper convene in their transgression to make pivots of joyful use.

Paula Wilson is a visual artist whose multimedia practice employs an extensive range of techniques to explore perceptions of light, form, and the body in space. Wilson’s work varies widely, encompassing video, densely layered collage, painting, installation, and printmaking methods. Her subject matter is equally multifaceted, drawing inspiration from real and invented cultural histories and identities exploring myth, race and the dimensions of femininity. Her work is included in the collections of The Studio Museum Harlem (New York), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven), Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (St. Louis), Tang Museum (Saratoga Springs), and Saatchi Gallery (London), among others. Previous solo exhibitions have been at The Bemis Center of Contemporary Arts (Omaha), Emerson Dorsch Gallery (Miami), Cherry & Lucic (Portland), The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia), and the Center for Contemporary Arts (Santa Fe). Wilson is a recipient the Joan Mitchell Artist Grant, Art Production Fund’s P3Studio Artist-in-Residency at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and the Bob and Happy Doran Fellowship at Yale University. She holds a Masters of Fine Art from Columbia University and presently co-runs the artist-founded organization MoMAZoZo and the Carrizozo Artist in Residency.