Artistic Endeavors – La Wilson

Last month an obituary appeared in the NYT for La Wilson, who designed quirky assemblages out of odd materials that may or may not have had deeper meanings.  My eye was caught by two things – Wilson died in Hudson, Ohio, which is about a 30 minute drive from my house; and her work is in the Akron Art Museum’s collection.

The copy for her 2014 show at the Akron Art Museum said,

Over the years, Wilson proceeded to position blocks of type, stamps, pastels, crepe paper, fishing lures, plastic forks, coins, rosaries, airplanes, toy guns and a myriad of other materials into boxes or frames creating elegant compositions that evoke delight, nostalgia and sometimes even a dark edge. Wilson comments that her constructions evolve from a “stream of consciousness,” noting that the objects either “click almost instantly” or “take forever to work.”

Not only did Wilson have the Akron show, but she was awarded a Cleveland Arts Prize in 1993. I’m ashamed to say it took her obituary to make me aware of her work, despite her local presence.

She talks about her methods in a short video made in 2011. Apparently her approach was purely intuitive. I love that she knew something was right when “It makes my heart beat faster.”

You can see more of her work at the John Davis Gallery website.


Filed under Commentary, Everything Else

20 responses to “Artistic Endeavors – La Wilson

  1. Very cool. I love the jacks box. It looks like the type of work I could get immersed in, inspecting each piece for a long time.

  2. Thank you for this post and video link. I loved listening to La talk about her work (and play). Having had professional and tinkering wood workers in my family I really appreciate her art.

  3. Thank you for the introduction to a new-to-me artist. I will make time this afternoon during my break to watch the video.

  4. Rosemaryflower

    I have not watched the film yet. Thank you for sharing this lovely artist.
    I love the shadow box the most.
    I am not sure what to think about the piano dampers. I hope no pianos were injured in the process.
    With all of the stuff we collect, I think that is what draws us to her work, except her stuff is neatly filed 🙃😂
    Happy Monday already

  5. Judith K Campbell

    She has a piece at the North Hill Branch Library in Akron OH as well.

  6. Penny

    I had no knowledge of her work either! Very beautiful and interesting, though…I would like to see it in person if possible. Speaking of famous people, I just found out that Voltaire once lived across the street from our future residence in 1753 while working in Colmar.

  7. I never heard of her either, but I like those pieces. Thanks!

    • I don’t think she’s in the artistic stratosphere, but she had gallery representation and one person shows. Her pieces have a quirkiness which speak to a certain mindset.

  8. This work appeals to me a lot. I love the first one best–I’ve always loved shadow boxes and collections of like objects. I’d like to see these in person!

    • I hope you had the time to watch the short film about her that shows her scrabbling about her collections of oddments to find just the right pieces. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay any attention to her 2014 local show, so I can’t give you an in-person report.

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