Shelley Wilson has worked with the scientific community (research laboratories, hospitals and academic institutions) for the past 10 years. This has resulted in collaborations between Wilson and various scientists, clinicians and has culminated in a series of exhibitions that have been shown at diverse venues (from Whitley’s Antrim, Guys Hospital, Royal College of Physicians, Science Museum, art galleries and art fairs). The topics have been wide ranging, from her award winning Wellcome Trust ‘Sci-Art 97’ scientific partner Prof. Arthur Crisp with their project ‘Female Puberty and a Search for an Identity’ that dealt with the complexities of psychological dilemmas of sufferers of anorexia nervosa, to her collaboration with Prof. David Hopkinson, whose research is to try and locate the genes that are responsible for facial features. The fruits of this last collaboration are: ‘Invisible Body’, ‘Family Faces’ and ‘Beneath the Mask’.
Wilson is at present creating a new body of work for her forth coming Solo exhibition ‘Joint Account’ at the Old Operating Theatre London date 15th March 2007 for six weeks.
Shelley Wilson’s work combines the three disciplines of ceramics, sculpture, and photography. She is exploring expressive forms of visualization, experimentation, and interaction between materials and subject matter, taking inspiration from the physicality and psychology of the human form. Her concerns are with the complexities of the mind and body and how they interact. Perhaps more importantly Wilson is searching for, and attempting to categorize and present, a ‘reality’ beyond the scientifically measurable.
Wilson’s drive to create artworks derives from her desire to document an analysis of a moment in time in the life of an individual. Looking beyond the presented form she records the deeper emotions of life that is so often concealed from the gaze of the observer. Using clay Wilson explores the duality of our life experiences and in particular to expose the individuals’ unique fragilities and strengths. To create the illusion of a solid form Wilson pinches the clay to the limit of its tolerance. This illusion is then developed through the lens of a camera creating a 2D image this is then manipulated resulting into a 3D form, once again. In this way Wilson creates a reference to the tension between both the opposing qualities of strength/fragility freedom/confinement life and death, with the ultimate reference being to our illusion of control over our lives.
In order to extrapolate these observations from the immediate to the general human experience, Wilson eschews the notion of titles such as ‘Portrait of a standing Woman’ and uses the catalogue numbers used by the laboratory in which she worked during her Sci-Art collaborations. In this way she is able to disassociate sufficiently from the individual and observe them also as a laboratory subject matter. In so doing she seeks to re-assert their individuality in terms of their psychological mind-set.