Pamela Wilson’s 2002 exhibition of paintings at moniquemeloche gallery was filled with poetic images of domestic interiors and exteriors investigating abstraction through architecture. The show was peppered with a few small paintings that might have seemed a bit out of place. But in retrospect, these tense images taken from newspaper photographs, depicting youths throwing rocks in protest, were just a hint at what has increasingly concerned Wilson over the past few years. Her new exhibition “Hard to Remember, Easy to Forget” will feature a series of modestly-scaled works on paper. These delicate watercolors still have an air of abstraction, but upon closer look one encounters the aftermath of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and war.
Oscillating between beauty and the horrific, Wilson’s recent watercolor and ink drawings offer a reflective view of violence. In images fragile and intense, chaotic but stilled, the aftermaths of manifold acts of destruction, both natural and man-made, are portrayed. Drawn in a muted palette of subtle golden browns, blues, reds and greens, the images evoke the ephemeral quality of the black-and-white newspaper clippings from which they are culled. The tension between a medium that is delicate and expressive joined to aggressive and tough imagery lends a power to drawings that have an almost incongruous distance from the largely quiescent tradition of watercolor.
Pamela Wilson (b. 1954) hails from the East Coast, attended Boston University, School of Visual Arts NY, received her BFA from University of California, Berkeley, and her Masters of Art History and Theory from SAIC, Chicago where she spent many years as a graduate advisor. In 2002 she relocated to San Francisco where she taught at California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco (now WATTIS). Wilson’s 2004 solo exhibition at the Paule Anglim Gallery in San Francisco garnered an Artforum review and most recently her work was in the group show “Photoo: The Subversion and Subvention of Photography” at the Oakland Art Gallery in California.