Drawing at the Hughes Tower in Brightwood, Washington, DC, photo by André A. Wilson

Drawing at the Hughes Tower in Brightwood, Washington, DC, photo by André A. Wilson

 

Biography

 

Elaine S. Wilson’s direct, light-filled landscape paintings on linen or wood panels get at the specific nature of a place through repeated encounters with a site.  She values slow looking as a way to find out what is really going on in a place and to reveal its unexpected lyricism.   Such exploration begins with drawing.  Drawing helps Wilson see a place or structure and understand its proportions and interrelationships.  She paints in oil on wood panels or linen canvas.

Wilson holds her MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art and her BFA from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Art.   Her work is in the collections of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Library of Congress, The University of Michigan Office of the President, Washington DC Artist Bank, Herman Miller, and Cigna Corp. among other public and corporate collections.   Her work is in numerous private collections across the country.   She has exhibited widely with nineteen solo shows, four two person shows and has been included in over thirty group exhibitions around the country.  

Among grants and residencies she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Artists Fellowship, a DC Commission on Arts and Humanities Grant and a residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, CT.

Wilson has over thirty years of teaching experience at the college level and at community art centers, including Rhode Island School of Design, University of Michigan School of Art and Design, Washtenaw Community College, and Wesleyan University.  She has taught numerous art workshops to introduce artists and non-artists to the exploration of the behavior of Color.

She lives and works in Washington, DC.

 

Artist Statement

 

Being observant and alert are central to the act of drawing and painting. Our culture has sped up so much that the act of slowing down and noticing helps one to see more deeply – especially relationships between things. I believe that the interdependence of all things is key to life and work.  I see the beauty and meaning of physical things as metaphors for this interdependence of forms, which is a moral imperative. Unless we see what is around us in a rich way, we are likely to discount it and become more anxious:  looking always for something that may not be there, when what is there is really remarkable.  In the end, even the most mundane place contains lyricism.    

My paintings are about revealing the specific nature of a place through repeated encounters versus capturing a particular moment.  Over several visits, I find out more about a setting to see if I can unearth a rhythm of mark and color that elevates what I notice into something that others will find compelling. Every place has stories.  As I work I discover what they are.  Sometimes stories are brought to a place by the individuals who populate my paintings with their errands, their play, and their work. While I choose a site primarily for its visual quality, the stories contribute to the richness of the experience.  

Such stories contribute to why I choose a site along with the visual quality of a place and its particular structures.  

My work is based on drawing. Drawing helps me to begin to see a place or a structure, and to understand its proportions and interrelationships.  I like the moments in drawing when a form appears with very few marks or tones and the paper is transformed.  After I make drawings I can begin to paint.  I paint either on linen primed with oil or on wooden panels coated with shellac to leave the wood grain visible.  I find it interesting to respond to the grain of the wood in the painting. In some of the small panels, the color of the wood becomes an integral part of the painting surface.  

The quality of light in my paintings is paramount.  The color must articulate the light and depth of a space, but also create its own rhythm within the painting. Light is a physical sensation, not just visual, as it is specific to both place and time.  Without light, a painting is dead.  

I aim to have my artwork appear as if it made itself, effortlessly. Previous decisions may be part of the visual fabric, but I like the work to be inevitable rather than labored or improvisational. The initial colors and marks left in the surface of the painting are an expression of the ongoingness of time and place - evidence of the act of looking.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Curriculum Vitae

 

EDUCATION

1983                MFA in Painting, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT

1980                BFA in Painting, Washington University in St. Louis School of Art, St. Louis, MO.

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018                Charting the Wolverine, Dexter Public Library, Dexter, MI

2017                Charting the Wolverine, Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson, MI.

2017                Charting the Wolverine, Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek, MI. 

2015                Charting the Wolverine, Stephen Clark Map Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

2014                Charting the Wolverine, Gifts of Art, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI.

2011                Goodyear Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.

2008                Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI.

2006                Light Fine Arts Gallery, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI.

2004                Tabor Hill Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI.

2004                Center Gallery, Glen Arbor, MI.

2003                Tabor Hill Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI.

2002                Sonia Zaks Gallery, Chicago IL.

2002                Geognosie, Cary Gallery, Rochester, MI. 

1999                DeWaters Art Center, Mott Community College, Flint, MI.

1997                Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA.

1996                Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI.

1995                O’Connor Gallery, Rosary College, River Forest, IL.

1995                Alexa Lee Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI.

1988                More Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

1985                More Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

 

TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2014               Unfolding Landscape, Bowery Gallery, New York, NY, (with Charles Kanwischer).

2010               Unfolding Landscape, Macomb Community College, Clinton Township, MI, (with Charles Kanwischer).

 2010              Looking at Land, Gallery One, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, (with John Stephenson, ceramist).

2008               Unfolding Landscape: The Pastoral Reformed, Gelbke Gallery, Hiram College, Hiram, OH, (with Charles Kanwischer).

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016                DCCAH Grant Finalists, Eye St. Gallery, Washington, DC.

2016                For The Record, DC Historical Society, Washington, DC, Best in Show Award.

2015                For The Record, DC Historical Society, Washington, DC.

2011                16+16, Washington Street Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI.

2009                Beyond Words, A Celebration of Book Arts, Washington Street Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI.

2009                Upscaled/Downsized, Willard Wankelman Gallery, Bowling Green            State University, Bowling Green, OH.                      

2006                Michigan Landscapes, Riverside Arts Center, Ypsilanti, MI.      

2005                Six Contemporary Painters, Atrium Gallery, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

2005                 Painting Invitational, Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI.

2004                 Beyond City Limits: Rural Views of the Midwest, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum, Wausau, WI.

2003                River Gallery, Chelsea, MI.

2003                Rankin Center Gallery, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI.         

2002                Contemporary Painting, Erector Square Gallery, New Haven, CT.  Andrew Forge, Juror.  Juror’s Award.

1999               Seeing it Through: Faculty Artists from the School of Art and Design, University Museum of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

1998               Michigan Book Artists, University of Michigan Library, Special Collections, Ann Arbor, MI.

1998               Eye’s Mind, Kendall Art and Design, Hudson, NY.

1998                Art and the Natural World, Jean Paul Slusser Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.  Janie Paul, Curator.

1998                Artists of the Midwest, University Art Museum, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

1997                Rural Routes, Greater Lafayette Museum of Art, Lafayette, IN.

1997-1998      The New Regionalism, Touring Exhibition, Venues:Suomi International College of Art and Design, Hancock, MI; Bonifas Fine Arts Center,                                  Escanaba, MI; Art Center of Battle Creek, MI; Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, MI; Port Huron Museum, Port Huron, MI.

1997                 Faculty Exhibition, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI.

1997                 Hand Pulled Prints V, Parchman Stremmel Galleries, San Antonio, TX.

1997                 Genius of Place, Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI.  Michael Hall, Curator.

1996                 Drawing Invitational, Hillyer Hall Gallery, Smith College, Northampton, MA.  Martha Armstrong, Curator.

1995                 Painting Today, Erector Square Gallery, New Haven, CT.  William Bailey, Juror.

1994                 The Painting Center, New York, NY.  Nancy Flanagan, Curator.

1991                 Newton Arts Center, Newton, MA.

1990                 Biennial Faculty Exhibition, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI.

1990                 New Haven Paints New Haven, Munson Gallery, New Haven, CT.

1988                 Artists Invite Artists, Munson Gallery, New Haven, CT.

1988                 The Landscape, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT.

1987                 New Work, New Haven, Artspace, New Haven, CT.

1984                 Ten Young Artists, Washington Art Association, Washington Depot, CT.

1984                 City Visions, More Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

 

GRANTS and RESIDENCIES

2016                DC Commission on Arts and Humanities Artist Grant.

2013                Artist in Residence, The Albers Foundation, Bethany, CT.

2003                Artist in Residence, Glen Arbor Art Association, Glen Arbor, MI.

1996                National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest Regional Visual Artists Fellowship Award.

1983                Grant, Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.

 

COLLECTIONS public and corporate

Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor, MI.

DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, Washington, DC.

Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI.

Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI.

University of Michigan, Office of the President. Ann Arbor, MI.

University of Michigan Library, Special Collections and Stephen Clark Map Library, Ann Arbor, MI.

Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI.

Cigna Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

Herman Miller Inc., Zeeland, MI.

Meditech Corporation, Framingham, MA.

 Numerous Private Collections

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cantu, John Carlos, “Artist Draws on Atmosphere, Geometry in Rural    Landscapes, Ann Arbor News, Ann Arbor, MI, 24 October 2004.

Cantu, John Carlos, “Dexter Artist’s Wide Angle Work Impressive,” Ann Arbor News, Ann Arbor, MI, 19 February 1995.

Cantu, John Carlos, “Local Artists Outstanding in Juried Exhibit, Ann Arbor News, Ann Arbor, MI, 30 January 1994.

Cravens, Ceci, “Group Exhibition, artsMEDIA, Boston, MA, July/August 1997.

Donohoe, Victoria, “On Galleries, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, 28 May 1988.

Donohoe, Victoria, “On Galleries, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, 23 February 1985.

Gonzales, Shirley, “CAW Offers 96 Views on the Landscape,” New Haven           Register, New Haven, CT, 3 April 1988.

Hauptman, Jodi, “Painting the Town, New Haven Register, New Haven, CT, 15 April 1990.

Hodges, Michael, “See it Before It’s Gone”, Detroit News, Detroit, MI, 8 September 2011.                       

Kane, Lois, “Spotlight on Galleries: Elaine Wilson”, Ann Arbor Observer, Ann Arbor, MI, February 1995.

Millis, Chris, “Turning Ordinary Scenes into Extraordinary Images”, South End         News, Boston, MA, 12 June 1997.

 Passfield, Veronica, “Studio Visit: Lush Landscapes”, Detroit Monthly, Detroit, MI, February 1995.

Scholt, Grace, “Recent Paintings on Exhibit at MCC Gallery, Flint Journal, Flint, MI, 21 March 1999.

 

TEACHING

2003-2012       Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, Professor.

1992-2003       University of Michigan School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, MI. Lecturer.

1993-1997       Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI. Adjunct Faculty.

1991-1992       Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI.  Lecturer. 

1990                 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Drawing Instructor

1989-1991       Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.  Lecturer. 

 

LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS

2017, 2016, 2015      Color and Design Workshops, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI.         

2017                           Color Workshop, Battle Creek Art Center, Battle Creek, MI.

2016                           Color Workshop, Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild, Ann Arbor, MI.

2015                           Drawing, Design, Color Workshops, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI.

 2007                         Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.  

 1999,2003               Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

 1999                          Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 

 1999                          Mott Community College, Flint, MI.       

            

WRITING

  Wilson, Elaine, “On Sandra Stone”, Painters on Painting, 18 September 2014, https://paintersonpaintings.com/elaine-s-wilson-on-sandra-stone/

 

Representation

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Tamarack Gallery

Omena, Michigan 49670