Mary’s text

January 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm (art, culture)

Mary Birmingham, the curator of my show at the Hunterdon Art Museum, wrote this text for the wall… I completely love it:

”There are always such beautiful things…”

In her drawings Amy Wilson creates an intimate yet accessible world of domestic interiors and landscapes populated by child-like female figures.  Acting as surrogates for the artist, these characters engage in what she calls “fearless conversations” that reveal their deepest thoughts, fears and longings. While intensely personal, reflecting the inner life of the artist, they also address broader cultural ideas about art, science, politics and femininity.  Grappling with big questions, these drawings transcend their relatively small scale and heighten our awareness of the inner and outer worlds we inhabit.

For this exhibition Wilson has created a miniature house inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.”  First published in 1892, this story explores one woman’s descent into insanity during her confinement in a room with yellow wallpaper.  As in Wilson’s drawings, the text in Gilman’s story is related through first-person journal entries.

In Wilson’s house, yellow stripes seep from the walls and cascade through the structure, creeping across floors and flowing out through windows.  Several birds appropriate these straw-like stripes for a nest, allowing Nature to have the final word.  The paper vines that meander through the gallery echo this idea.  Nature, so often benign and beautiful always carries the potential for domination and chaos; vines that embellish a home can also obliterate it.  Similarly, the same imagination that fuels creativity can run wild and create irrational fears and nightmares.

The power of imagination—for the inquisitive child, the adult artist, and even the world at large—is a recurring theme in Wilson’s work.  One of her little girls voices this idea:  “I often think about how the imagination is the most important thing that we have – we will never improve the world or grow as a species if we can’t imagine the possibilities beforehand.”

For Amy Wilson, the act of art making is “nothing less than an attempt to build a new world to live in.”  The glimpse she provides into her world enlightens and enriches ours.



  1. mary birmingham said,

    Thanks, Amy. It’s such a thrill to have work like this in the Museum (and in my head!)

  2. MeganN said,

    Ive read the blog.

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