• Sharon Wilson

    Date posted: February 17, 2011 Author: jolanta
    Sharon Wilson is trained as a painter, but has since developed her career as a multimedia artist and curator who uses video, found objects, digital imagery, drawings, and sound. Interested in the media as a divisive tool for shaping public motivations, as well as looking at the edifices of architecture, of which social control is inherent, yet not explicit, her work is about democracy. Her work often manifests itself as site-specific commissions, which seek to subtly reveal, and at times, subvert the social mechanics and contentions of any given context.

    Sharon Wilson 

    Courtesy of the artist.

    Sharon Wilson is trained as a painter, but has since developed her career as a multimedia artist and curator who uses video, found objects, digital imagery, drawings, and sound. Interested in the media as a divisive tool for shaping public motivations, as well as looking at the edifices of architecture, of which social control is inherent, yet not explicit, her work is about democracy. Her work often manifests itself as site-specific commissions, which seek to subtly reveal, and at times, subvert the social mechanics and contentions of any given context.

    Wilson has spent ten years with a variety of site-related contemporary art commissions and community-engaged projects under galleries such as V&A, Tate, Waygood, and the Shipley Art Gallery Gateshead. Much of her work is driven by social engagement and inclusion. With public places as a forum for her work, Wilson, at times, creates no division between herself—the artist practitioner—and the volunteering public, who become part of the enquiry, thus blurring the distinction between the creative facilitator and the public, which allows them to have an equal role in the artwork. The approach is holistic, as the final outcome of the artwork is often less of a priority than the process of engagement itself.

    The print work in the show examines the way souvenir kitsch is employed to construct a regional identity. The two works have been made specifically for the Broadway Gallery NYC in SoHo, New York, connecting with American culture both as childhood nostalgia and Britain’s historical connections with the U.S. The Empire Strikes Back print refers to the Hollywood movie, where the character, Hans Solo, is trapped in carbonate, used as a metaphor for the freezing of the mining industry in the 1980s under conservative rule. Notions of “empire” are playfully explored in relation to the banal heritage object. The iconic miner hewing coal is removed from its original source. The three-dimensional “tat” figurine locally cast in coal resin was made by the tourism industry to celebrate the post-industrial past of the North East of England, but is now re-appropriated as a fine art statement. The labor-intensive print and emboss process used intends to echo the human endeavor of the mining community, of which the members’ skills are sophisticated yet laborious. The gold and bronze inks symbolize in both works, albeit more so in Post Industrial Present, that the Oscar Awards are associated with the superficiality of glitz and glamour. All that glitters, however, the artist suggests, is not gold.

    www.axisweb.org/artist/
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