Paula Wilson

Carrizozo, New Mexico

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.

In 2007 I relocated from New York City to the rural high desert town of Carrizozo, New Mexico (population 900). This has distanced me from systems that assist contemporary artists, however the low cost of living and supportive community sustain my practice, merging art and life. I print and sew my clothes, have co-founded the artist organization MoMAZoZo in a formerly abandoned adobe theater and hotel, and founded the Carrizozo Artist-in-Residency (in its fifth year), while actively exhibiting nationally.

Visual Artist Paula Wilson was born in Chicago, Illinois, and received an MFA from Columbia University in New York and a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Wilson’s artworks are 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. She has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Artforum, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, and The New Yorker. 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).

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