(Corning, New York, 1924 - March 30, 2018)
Lives Hudson, Ohio
La Wilson began taking weekly painting classes at the Akron Art Institute (now Akron Art Museum) with instructor Leroy Flint soon after she moved to Hudson, Ohio, in 1946, which she has described as a personal awakening. This early foray in painting led to experimentation with three-dimensionality, and soon Wilson’s vision manifested itself in the assemblages for which she is known. About her process, Wilson has said, “First I collect—anything that appeals, for whatever reasons. Then I start putting things together, usually in a box and what often happens is that these everyday mundane things change their essential nature when juxtaposed in unexpected ways with other material.” In a 1999 review of her work, the New York Times wrote, “The magic of her art lies in its unexpected transformation of ordinary, even bland items into objects of power, danger, wonder or warning, all with a mysterious aura and an offbeat, lopsided charm.”
From her participation in the Akron Art Institute’s annual juried Spring Show in the late 1950s and 60s to winning the prestigious Cleveland Arts Prize in 1993, Wilson’s work became widely known in the region, and when the John Davis Gallery of Akron, Ohio moved to New York City in the late 1980s, she began garnering national attention. Works by La Wilson are actively collected by museums including the Akron Art Museum, Ohio; The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio; and The Newark Museum, New Jersey.