FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Woo Who? May Wilson
February 15 – March 15, 2008
PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY is pleased to announce a retrospective exhibition of collages, assemblages and paintings by the late MAY WILSON (1905-1986). Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, February 15, from 6-8pm, or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through March 15.
The gallery is located at:533 West 23rd Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues).
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-6pm
A pioneer of the “Mail Art” movement of the 1950s and 1960s and a singular voice in the artistic landscape of Feminism, MAY WILSON defied the accepted standards of the art world and of society, creating mixed-media works that explore the construction of gender and identity in both two and three dimensions. Born in Baltimore in 1905, Wilson’s life as a suburban housewife seemed a likely fate. At the age of 42, however, she committed herself to the idea of becoming an artist, enrolling in correspondence classes in fine art and art history (anticipating the departure of her grown children). By promoting and selling her early efforts, Wilson was able to sustain a viable career as an artist. She produced what were regarded as “primitive” paintings by those in the surrounding suburban area – brightly colored canvases that lacked the spatial depth of Realism, reflecting the Modernist influence of Cezanne and his followers. In 1956 the artist’s son, author and critic William S. Wilson, introduced his mother to the founding father of the network of Mail Art, the artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995). The artistic exchange between the two not only fostered the growth of this ever-expanding network, but also provided Wilson with the much needed support and encouragement to experiment with unconventional materials and ideas, eventually working through the visual logic of abstraction to the expressive possibilities of three-dimensional construction.
Wilson’s move from married suburban life into the avant-garde art scene of New York City in 1966 quickly won her the moniker “Grandma Moses of the Underground”. This well-deserved title not only reflects her leap from one life into another, but also a desire to liberate herself and the things around her from the strictures of convention. Preceding the visual strategies of artists like Cindy Sherman by over a decade, Wilson’s Ridiculous Portraits explore the representation of women through humorous juxtapositions of photo booth self-portraits and popular images from art history and mass culture. Woo Who? May Wilson (named for Amelie R. Rothschild’s 1970 documentary on the artist) also includes her signature wrapped dolls and objects, as well as erotic “snowflake collages”, densely layered assemblages and early paintings. May Wilson’s daring reconstruction of art and life not only pushed the boundaries of polite good taste, but also offered an alternative vision of the world, one in which our trash became her treasure.
May Wilson is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and others. This exhibition coincides with a major survey of her work at the Morris Museum (Morristown, NJ) entitled Ridiculous Portrait: The Art of May Wilson, on view January 22 – April 27, 2008.
For additional information and images please contact Maggie Seidel at (212) 675 7490 or email@example.com