Glass Cloud Gallery 2019: Alice Wilson's 'Gated Community' Interview
Glass Cloud Gallery is a London based, independent, pop up window gallery founded by artist Hannah Luxton in 2013. The initiative connects the public with fine art practices by collaborating with businesses to commission highly visible exhibitions in windows for the passing world to see. Glass Cloud exhibitions offer new, thought provoking moments in the everyday, created by London’s most exciting art graduates, emerging and mid career artists.
Every summer for four years Glass Cloud has showcased exhibitions by London artists in the Camden Peoples Theatre windows, facing out onto the busy Hampstead Road. This year current stars on the art scene Lothar Götz and Alice Wilson will present back to back exhibitions.
Keep scrolling to read the interview with Alice Wilson
1. Why have you selected these two works to exhibit at Glass Cloud? Did the unique space affect your decision making?
They are slight anomalies in my current practice, that's not to say I won't make more, but they are works that have survived being taken apart. I often paint images across lengths of construction timber and then pull them apart and reconstruct my sculptures or paintings with them, when I painted these I felt they were complete so left them. I was really pleased to get an opportunity to show them together and the scale was perfect for Glass Cloud, so it worked out really well.
The public space and the amount of 'noise' around the work also meant that when I was considering my proposal, colour and form had to be key, some of my work would be totally lost in these windows there is an enormous amount to compete with visually.
2. How does it feel knowing the pieces are so exposed to the public eye? Is there anything you hope people might take away from discovering and experiencing your work in this way?
I'm really pleased. It's reaching a huge audience, it's also really nice that there are traffic lights directly opposite so I hope/imagine people will stare at it a little bit, especially if it is on their way to work or a regular journey, they might give it a little thought. It's a really positive way to exhibit, there's zero anxiety for the viewer, they can dismiss it or look closer, there's no expectation.
I'm not sure I have hopes for the viewer, like I say it's nice not to expect anything from them, it's just there! Maybe it will help people on first dates have something to talk about when they go to the theatre...
3. The works look like they have been constructed out of fragmented materials; materials that have a history and once played a different role. Can you describe your working process, and how these works came into being?
The wood I use can have quite long histories or be newly purchased, either way I become very familiar with the timber, I know what it's been used for before, where my marks have come from and where other peoples are visible. I often think about this, it is hugely personal my relationship with the material, nobody else could know where the marks have come from but if I'm too deliberate in my mark making I feel a piece of wood is redundant, that in some way it has become contrived. This is where the process of painting images across lengths of timber came from, I really like knowing that there is part of another image in a length I am using elsewhere, I know the image but no-one else does.
To go back to the timber used in 'Boat House' I am thinking about it now and trying to remember some of it's histories, there are four lengths of gloss pained MDF that were part of some stretcher bars I made on my BA 17 years ago and then there's a small block that sits proud which is an off cut from the first set of steps I made, I make a lot of steps.
4. The gate and the boat house are repeated motifs in your practice. What is their significance to you as interventions in the landscape?
That's a tricky question, they're personally relevant for the place's and space they remind me of. I've always been very selective with what images I use, when an image works I enjoy the process of becoming more and more familiar with the structure and composition. It's a bit like how a photograph alters a memory, the images I work with are photographs but are also places I continue to visit, by repeatedly working with an image something changes, things become untrue and change in some way, the editing and cropping that happen when a photo is taken define your view and memory.
Funnily enough the painting of the boat house was kept as it is because I have drawn and re-worked this image so many times and when I looked at it on planks I thought 'Finally I've got perspective and feeling of the building right' so it had to stay. I'm over egging it a bit, but maybe it's a bit like what Roland Barthes describes as a punctum in a photo, only a few things have it for me so I continue to return to the things that have it for me.
Interview by Hannah Luxton from Glass Cloud Gallery
Alice Wilson works with construction timber, plaster, photography, paint and often improvises with materials to realise ideas. Landscape is used in Wilson’s practice as a medium through which to discuss concerns with experience, access and expectation. For Gated Community, Wilson presents artworks in the form of two regularly occurring motifs within her practice: a boat house and gate.
Alice Wilson (b. 1982, UK) lives and works in London. She graduated with an MA from Wimbledon School of Art, UAL in 2011 and with a BA Fine Art from Loughborough University in 2005. In 2019 Wilson has installed four works at Cheeseburn Sculpture Park for the 2019-20 programme, is exhibiting with domobaal as part of the group exhibition Backyard Sculpture and has installed her largest work to date at Thames Side Studios Gallery for the group exhibition Modern Finance.
Completing a residency in Aarhus, Denmark during May 2018 supported by the British Council’s Artists’ International Development Fund, Wilson returned to Aarhus in October for a significant Solo Exhibition, Goat Moth at Godsbanen. Other recent exhibitions include HarderEdge at the Saatchi Gallery, London, Dec 2018 Painting and Other Bad Habits at Charlotte Fogh Gallery, Aarhus, Nov 2018, a Solo Exhibition with DOLPH projects, London, Sept 2017, and Recreational Grounds, a public intervention in a disused South London car park, April 2018.