2019 Emerging Artist: Mary Cale A. Wilson

Mary Cale A. Wilson, San Diego, California

Antique vessels, Neoclassical architectural details, vintage wallpaper, baking tins, and even foods and their packaging are the visual cues in the sculpture made by Mary Cale A. Wilson that point toward her identity and heritage as a woman from the American South. In trading their customary context for composed vignettes of bright, primary colors and exaggerated staging, these elements converge at the intersection of nostalgia and narrative as each piece becomes a means of storytelling.

1 Butterbeans (for Charleston), 28 in. (71 cm) in height, earthenware, underglazes, low-fire glaze, fired to cone 04 in oxidation, found fork, 2017.

While playful in color and composition, the details of some pieces—excessively repaired plates, ripped layers of wallpaper and Con-Tact paper, and titles that include dedications, like Butterbeans (for Charleston)—set a more serious tone. She explains, “I am exploring the dualities I see and tension I feel concerning my cultural identity.”

To some viewers, a floral pattern or a teapot that is similar to one that was cherished by a family member become moments of recognition and triggered memory. Harnessing these connections, Wilson sifts through the language of these objects and materials, and recontextualizes our parallel associations in order to analyze and express histories both personal and cultural.  

Instagram: @marycale

2 High Cotton, 4 ft. (1.2 m) in height, earthenware, fired to cone 04 in oxidation, found objects, acrylic, mixed media on panel, 2017.


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