Paula Wilson

Paula Wilson

Born: 1975, Chicago, IL

Biography and Information

Paula Wilson is a multimedia artist whose densely layered, colorful, and often monumental works utilize a variety of painting, collage, film, installation, and print techniques. As a Black biracial woman born in Chicago and living in the American desert, Wilson’s multifaceted work resists a singular viewpoint. Her layering of color, image, pattern, and materials acts as a visual metaphor for the complex stratum of histories and cultures, both real and imagined.

Explorations of myth, race, gender, sexuality, and the natural world inform Wilson’s work. The human backside is an iconic motif found in her work and serves as a universal symbol for humanity. This gender-neutral form is humorously inverted top to bottom, back to front. Asses become faces, and the subject of the gaze perpetrates the gaze. What looks back at us? Which us is us?

Wilson’s work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in the collections of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Yale University, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, The Rubell Family Collection, The New York Public Library, and The Fabric Workshop & Museum to name a few. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Artist Grant, Bob and Happy Doran Fellowship at Yale University, and Princeton University’s Hodder Grant. Wilson is based in Carrizozo, New Mexico where she is co-founder of the artist organizations MoMAZoZo and the Carrizozo Artist in Residency (AIR).

My work is monumental and tactile. It describes narratives and environments that fit my experience as a biracial Black woman. I reimagine art historical tropes and insert versions of myself into the landscape and canon. Shifting between graphic and painterly representations, I build narratives by collapsing pictorial planes. My work is anchored in self-portraiture, printmaking, installation, and collage. I print images with wood blocks, silkscreens, intaglio, and monotypes; I layer acrylic, oil, and spray paint; I shoot videos inserting 2-D work into the landscape; I cut, glue, and stitch to make colorful dense assemblages. My works often burst from their wall or frame, reflecting a constant re-assembly of lived experiences: black and white, urban and rural, traditional and contemporary, singular and collective.
-Paula Wilson

2005 MFA, Columbia University, New York, NY
1998 BFA, Washington University, summa cum laude, St. Louis, MO

Solo Exhibitions
On High, Project Space, Locust Projects, Miami, FL

, 516 ARTS, Albuquerque, NM

The Light Becomes You, Denny Dimin Gallery, New York, NY
Spread Wild, Pleasures of the Yucca, SMACK MELLON, Brooklyn, NY
PIECESCAPE, Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, CA
FLOORED, Williamson|Knight, Portland, OR

Salty & Fresh
, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL
Paula Wilson: The Backward Glance, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE

Salty & Fresh, Cherry & Lucic
, Portland, OR
Back it Up, Museum Blue, St. Louis, MO

UNDRESS, Center for Contemporary Arts, Spector Ripps Project Space, Santa Fe, NM

First Story, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA

The Stained Glass Ceiling, Bellwether Gallery, New York, NY

Paintings and Drawings from the Hanno Valley, Galleria Suzy Shammah, Milan, Italy

What’s So Personal, The Butcher Shop, Chicago, IL

Group Exhibitions
Drawn: Concept & Craft, curated by Tomas Vu and Wendy Earle, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC

CHARCOAL: Strokes of Vitality, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
Since n’ React to the Drop (online viewing room), curated by David L Bell, OCHI Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Constellations (online viewing room), David Lewis Gallery, New York, NY
Lover Earth: Art and Ecosexuality, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Infinite Seed, Good to Know.FYI at  Bhumi Farms, East Hampton, MA

In This Body of Mine: Strange Fire Collective at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee, WI
20 and Odd: The 400-Year Anniversary of 1619, curated by Kalia Brooks Nelson, Leroy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY
hands all blue, collaborative work with iris yirei hu, Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, CA
Contemporary Performance, a group show curated by Kalup Linzy, FLORIDA MUSEUM of PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS, Tampa, FL

Fragment, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL
Paradise Summit Miami, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL
sweet cheeks, Big Pictures Los Angeles, curated by Mélanie Faure & Doug Crocco, Los Angeles, CA
Venus Occults Jupiter (curated by Jennie Lamensdorf), Love Apple Art Space, Ghent, NY
‘Spirit Ground’ a film screening organized by UNDERGRUND COLLECTIVE hosted at Coaxial Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Aguacate, ASSEMBLAGE, Lincoln, NE
Island Press: Recent Prints, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Thinking Through Art, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT

Sunrise, Sunset, Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL
The Unhomely, Denny Gallery, New York, NY
The Young Years, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, curated by Dayton Director Ian Berry, Saratoga Springs, NY
Women Painting, Miami Dade College, Kendall Gallery, Miami, FL
New Faces, Different Places, Central Features Contemporary Art, Albuquerque, NM

The Home Show, form & concept, Santa Fe, NM
Girls Who Dance in Dissonance, Wayside, Los Angeles, CA
Surface Area: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Self-Proliferation, Girls’ Club, curated by Micaela Giovannotti, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Faces and Vases, Royal NoneSuch Gallery, Oakland, CA
Visions Into Infinite Archives, SOMArts Cultural Center, curated by Black Salt Collective, San Francisco, CA
The Book the Things: From Stage to Page, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, NM

Summer Art Faculty Exhibition, Schick Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Paula Wilson & Jovencio de la Paz, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck, MI
Perception Isn’t Always Reality, Kranzberg Arts Center, St. Louis, MO
DRAW: Mapping Madness, Inside – Out Art Museum, curated by Tomas Vu, Beijing, China

Lake Effect, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, curated by Mike Andrews, Saugatuck, MI

I Am The Magic Hand, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, Organized by Josephine Halvorson, New York, NY
Sanctify, Vincent Price Museum, Los Angeles, CA

The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Configured, Benrimon Contemporary, Curated By Teka Selman, New York, NY

Art by Choice, Mississippi Museum of Fine Art, Jackson, MS
The February Show, Ogilvy & Mather, New York, NY

Art on Paper: The 41st Exhibition, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
Defrosted: A Life of Walt Disney, Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY
41st Collectors Show, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AK
Carrizozo Artist’s Show, Gallery 408, Carrizozo, NM

While We Were Away, Sragow Gallery, New York, NY
A Decade of Contemporary American Printmaking: 1999-2009, Tsingha University, Beijing, China
Collected. Propositions on the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Set to Manual, Girls’ Club, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970, Spelman College of Art, Atlanta, GA, 2007 and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX

Horizon, EFA Gallery, Curated by David Humphrey, New York, NY
Black Alphabet, conTEXTS of Contemporary African American Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland

Turn the Beat Around, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY
The Manhattan Project, Fred Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL
Frequency, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY

MFA Thesis Exhibition, Columbia University, Curated by Jeffery Uslip, New York, NY
Recess: Images & Objects in Formation, Rush Gallery, Curated by Derek Adams, New York, NY
Past Perfect, Kantor/ Feuer Gallery, New York, NY

After Goya, Leroy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, Curated by Tomas Vu Daniel, New York, NY
Hungry Eyes, Columbia University, Ira D Wallach Gallery, New York, NY

Signs, Public Art Installation, Chicago, IL

Brat(Wurst), A show of Chicago Artists, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

Young Love, Mapreed Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Art in St. Louis, Honorable Mention, Curated By Jerry Saltz, Art St. Louis Gallery, St. Louis, MO

Art in Public Places, New Mexico Arts
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Girls’ Club
Middlebury University
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Moore College of Art and Design
New York Public Library
The Norton Collection
Rubell Collection
Saatchi Gallery
The Studio Museum Harlem
The Tang Museum
Yale University Art Gallery

Awards, Honors, and Residencies
Hodder Fund Grant, Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton, NJ
Award of Distinction, Washington University, Sax Fox School of Design and Visual Art, St. Louis, MO

Speaker, Art Recognition Commencement Ceremony, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence, New Orleans, LA

‘BAZAAR,’ P3 Studio Residency, The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Cannonball Visiting Artist Residency, Miami, FL

Fabric Workshop and Museum Residency Grant, Philadelphia, PA

Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant
Happy and Bob Doran Artist-in-Residence, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Short List, Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY

Giverny Residency, Art Production Fund, Giverny, France

Edward Mazella Jr. Scholarship for Excellence in the Visual Arts, Columbia University, New York, NY

Women’s Studio Workshop Intern, Rosendale, NY
Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency, Johnson, VT
Milovich Award in Painting, School of Art, Washington University

Founder and Director, The Danchimah Nigerian-American Laboratory Schools Creative Arts Center, Abia
State, Nigeria

Annie Bielski, On being mindful of where we put our attention, The Creative Independent, February 4

Maria Manuela, New Mexico Magazine, November 6

Nancy Kenney, Columbia University exhibition retells the story of America by foregrounding ‘black genius’, The Art Newspaper, September 3
Strange Fire Collective, In this body of mine, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Daniel Gerwin, iris yirei hu and ivan forde, Critics’ Pick, ART FORUM, September
Megan Kamerick, Natural synergy Artists Mira Burack and Paula Wilson, Santa Fe New Mexican: Pasatiempo, June 28-July 4
Kathaleen Roberts, Transplanted viewpoints: Two artists find inspiration in state’s terrain, vegetation, Albuquerque Journal,  June 16
Angie Rizzo, STUDIO VISIT: Paula Wilson and Mike Lagg, Southwest Contemporary: The/Magazine, June

Brice Brown and Trevor Winkfield, Tether 4, Sienese Shredder Editions, New York, NY
Galerie Editors, 8 Incredible Art Exhibitions Closing This Week, Galerie, January 23rd
James Knowlton, Paula Wilson: FLOORED at Williamson|Knight, Art Practical, March 27
Ashley Gifford, A Conversation with Artist Paula Wilson, Art and About PDX, March 20
Nim Wunnan, VizArts Monthly: April, Oregon Arts Watch, April 3

Jess T. Dugan, Q&A: Paula Wilson, Strange Fire Collective, October 5
Sarah Michelle Rupert and Michelle Weinberg, Women Painting: Works from the collection of Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz, Fort Lauderdale: Girl’s Club
Ian Berry and Rebecca McNamara,  Accelerate No1: Access and Inclusion, Saratoga Springs: The Frances Young Tang Museum
Ian Berry, The Young Years, Saratoga Springs: The Frances Young Tang Museum
Rhonda Garelick, Salty/Fresh: Paula Wilson’s House of Art , The Brooklyn Rail, May 1
Monica Uszerowicz, A Stained-Glass World Where Women Are Worshipped, HYPERALLERGIC, May 2
Kim Carpenter, Bemis exhibits examine who we are,the problems we face and the future we’re creating, Omaha World Herald, March 23

Sarah Hotchkiss, Black Salt Collective Agitates the Archive with ‘Visions’ at SomArts, KQED Arts, January 14

Daniel Stumeier, Behind and Beyond: Paula Wilson’s Back it Up at Museum BlueSt. Louis Magazine, April 17

Jennifer Levin, The Bureau of Reclamations, Pasatiempo, Santa Fe New Mexican, November 14

Ryan Steadman,I Am The Magic Hand’, Critics’ Pick ARTFORUM, July
Roberta Smith, ‘I Am The Magic Hand’ and Antony: ‘The Cut’, The New York Times, June 28
Will Heinrich, I Am The Magic Hand at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Observer, June 18
Damon Locks, Paula Wilson: visual artist, The Population, May 14

Elizabeth Gwin, Lauren Haynes, and Abbe Schriber, The Bearden Project, New York: Studio Museum in Harlem, 2012

Another Day in Paradise: Paula Wilson and Mike Lagg, Ruidoso News, July, 29
Local talent shines light on youth awareness, Ruidoso Free Press, July, 26
Shine On’ means a life in service., Ruidoso News, July 15

Peeling back a building’s layers, At the Fabric Workshop, murals of urban facades, and a celebration of monochrome., The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 30
Paula Wilson’s latest exhibition at the Fabric Workshop is a story of privilege.,Philadelphia Weekly, July 7
Muse: The New Face of Fashion, ESSENCE, February

Jody B. Cutler, A Lineage is Not a Category,  The International Review of African American Art, Vol. 22 No. 4
Mariuccia Casadio, Faded, Vogue Italia, June
Barry Schwabsky, Paula Wilson, ARTFORUM, January

Roberta Smith, Chelsea: Art Chockablock With Encyclopedic Range, The New York Times, November 14
Jeffreen M. Hayes, On the Cusp: Young Collectors,  The International Review of African American Art, Vol. 22 No. 2

Stephen Maine, A Wild Horizon, The New York Sun, July 5

Angela Madesani, Critic’s Picks: Paula Wilson, ArtForum, June 16
Carlos Suarez De Jesus, A Tale of Four Cities,  Miami New Times, March 2

Goings on about Town, The New Yorker, December 5
Celia McGee, Art Against the Past, Daily News, November 6
Roberta Smith, Where Issues of Black Identity Meet the Concerns of Every Artist,  The New York Times, November 18

R.B. Strauss, From Chicago with Love, Avon Grove Sun, July 26

Print Publications
Oberlin College Editions, Oberlin, OH
Cranbrook Editions, Bloomfield Hills, MI

University of Iowa Editions, Iowa City, IA
Island Press, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

University of Oregon Editions, Eugene, OR

Master Print Series, MassArts, Boston, MA
City Editions, City College, New York, NY

Earth By, A Planet Magazine Publication,
Columbia University’s Leroy Nieman Print Center published “Last Summer,” “Poker at Greg’s House,” and “Remodeled,” New York, NY

North Drive Press, Volume 2. Curated by Matt Keegan, Brooklyn, NY

The Analogue Press Portfolio Series, Volume 1, Issue 3. Curated by Annie Shaw, Los Angeles, CA, April

A Stone’s Throw, Juried Twenty-Three Member National Portfolio Exchange, New York, NY

Organizations and Collaborations
Carrizozo Artist-in-Residence (AIR) since 2014
MoMAZoZo since 2010
Production Mode Chicago
Paula & Beverly Wilson, Book Arts

Press Release
2020 CHARCOAL: Strokes of Vitality at Richard Levy Gallery