Paula Wilson: Toward the Sky’s Back Door breaks down perceived boundaries to connect global and local narratives through subjects as wide-ranging as the moth that pollinates Yucca plants, ancient Greek vases, West African D’mba, and modern technologies. The exhibition presents paintings, sculpture, prints, collages, and videos—with different media frequently intermixed in a single work, including a new monumental figure being shown for the first time. Using the same techniques and styles to make art for viewing on the gallery wall as for the rugs she walks on and clothes she wears, Wilson challenges the separations between art and everyday living. Often biographically oriented, her work investigates the polarities of human life, including her own identity as a biracial woman and her experiences living in both major metropolises and the small desert railroad town of Carrizozo, New Mexico.
Wilson’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, and is in the permanent collections of The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Albuquerque Museum, the New York Public Library, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Tang Teaching Museum, among others. Born in Chicago, Wilson earned her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and MFA from Columbia University in New York. She is the cofounder of the artist-run organizations Carrizozo Artist-in-Residency and MoMAZoZo.