When La Wilson enrolled in a two-year adult art class with Leroy Flint at the Akron Art Institute soon after she settled in Hudson, Ohio, she could have hardly imagined its impact. Both Wilson and art in northeastern Ohio have been vastly enriched by her idiosyncratic artworks that have been embraced by critics and collectors nearby and around the country.
Wilson started exhibiting paintings and drawings at the Akron Art Museum’s annual May Show in 1957. Two years later her pen and ink drawing Things as They Are won an award and entered the collection. By the late 1960s, Wilson was making enigmatic constructions using an array of found materials that she collected for their appeal and “without judgment.” Over the years, Wilson proceeded to position blocks of type, stamps, pastels, crepe paper, fishing lures, plastic forks, coins, rosaries, airplanes, toy guns and a myriad of other materials into boxes or frames creating elegant compositions that evoke delight, nostalgia and sometimes even a dark edge. Wilson comments that her constructions evolve from a “stream of consciousness,” noting that the objects either “click almost instantly” or “take forever to work.”
La Wilson: Objects Transformed, which features a selection of the remarkable artwork the artist has created over a half century from the Akron Art Museum and Northeast Ohio collections, is organized by the Akron Art Museum.