Vicki Wilson—History Lessons
Vicki Wilson returns to her home state of Virginia for this exhibit of installation, sculptures and pottery in the Members Gallery at the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts. The show, titled “History Lessons”, will run from August 1st -August 25th with a First Friday reception on August 4th and an informal artist talk and wood-fired pottery sale on Friday, August 25th from 12-4. The talk will take place at 1:30pm.
For the artist, this is more than an exhibit opportunity. While attending Stafford High School in the early 90’s and working as an apprentice to the noted Stafford sculptor, Retha Walden Gambaro, Vicki took one of her first sculpture workshops at FCCA. Preparing for the exhibit began with a cross country journey from Oregon, where Wilson has resided for the last 22 years. Since June 1st, the artist has been a resident at Cub Creek Foundation Pottery Studio in Appomattox, Va. All of the work for this show has been conceived and created during this intensive residency program. One benefit of this program is an opportunity to reconnect with Fredericksburg area family, friends and the landscape that was such an important part of her formative years. Another benefit of the program is the opportunity to learn new techniques with clay. Cub Creek Foundation offers direction in making clay with local deposits and the firing of atmospheric kilns using gas and wood. Wilson was awarded a career opportunity grant from the Oregon Arts Commission with additional funding from the Ford Family Foundation to complete this summer program.
The concept for the show rises from the different types of processing involved in creating. Wilson’s work has long been reflective of her personal experiences and relationships of all kind. They have often involved metaphors and surreal imagery to get at points about human nature. This show employs the language and actions of the studio to support the personal concepts. In the installation titled “Pressed and Tested” a series of 1000 test tiles, which are routinely made by potters for the development of glazes, are transformed into a revolution because the tiles have been pressed into molds in the shapes of protesting mouths. The artist was inspired by the recent Women’s Marches, but in the historic setting of the Silversmith house, Wilson feels the work is open to numerous interpretations.
Another work that is taking shape involves clay dug up in the different states the artist drove through on her journey to the East Coast. Ten clays from the trip will be used, including clay from the site of the Wilson family home, which was demolished for a new road in Fredericksburg many years ago. Wilson remarks, “This ‘wild clay’ project is what the whole trip has been about for me. Now that I have the material, I find myself unsure of the best thing to make it into. With such a limited resource, just about a gallon bag of each kind of clay, I’ve placed pressure on myself that this piece has to be really good. For sure this is a rite of passage for me. I first drove to the West Coast when I was twenty. What does it mean to return, now, with my emotional bags and my clay bags in hand? This is what it means to me to be an artist, to take my own head apart and rebuild it in view of others. It’s the way I express compassion and let people know that I am with them and feel their struggles.”
Vicki is also keeping a blog about the trip and residency at: https://vicsdirtroad.wordpress.com/
Cub Creek Foundation is operated by potter, John Jessiman, who was a student of Val Cushing at Alfred University and, himself, a professor for many years at New York State University in Cortland, NY. John operates his personal studio and provides studio space and housing for up to 7 additional residents on his 100 acre former plantation. Residents have come from around the globe to share in the operation of these unique kilns including the Noborigama (a 3 chambered, Japanese-style, hill-climbing wood kiln). Current residents hail from across the U.S. and are at varying stages in their careers.
Vicki Lynn Wilson was born in District Heights, MD and currently works in Portland, Oregon. She holds a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art and an MFA from Portland State University, both in Sculpture. Vicki worked for theatrical prop and costume shop, Michael Curry Design , and was a member of Blackfish Gallery for 5 years. Vicki’s work has also been shown in Portland at Gallery Homeland, Froelick Gallery, Tryon Creek State Park and the Portland Building Installation Space. Nationally her work has been shown in New York (Manhattan), Boston, Indianapolis and Knoxville. Vicki has collaborated on public and private commissions with her husband, John Larsen , for over a decade. The team has completed work for the Oregon Zoo (OR), the City of St. Helens (OR), the Scottsdale Arts Commission (AZ) and the City of Oregon City (OR). Vicki taught Sculpture, Drawing and Design at Portland, OR area colleges for 11 years and is currently focusing on her studio art practice in ceramic, concrete and steel.