Amy Wilson, the 36-year-old Yale-trained artist whose solo exhibition "The Space Between Us" opened last week at the University Museum on the University of Mississippi campus, has returned home to Jersey City, but her recent travels in the South have made an impression.
"The trip has really provoked a lot of thoughts in my head about insider vs. outsider art, art vs. craft, and small towns vs. the big city," Wilson writes on her personal blog. "The upshot is, I'm more confused than ever." Another upshot is that the ideas in Wilson's head very often find their way into her acclaimed compositions, which typically take the shape of small-scale watercolors featuring images of talkative girls and massive amounts of text.
Wilson, whose images are often described (in a positive sense) as naive, says her work is a kind of self-portraiture. She likes to explore the tension that exists between her interior world and the exterior one by sharing personal stories. Although the work on display at Ole Miss does depict some of her famous chatty Cathys, much of it is a departure. I Remember Swimming in the Lake at Night in the Summertime depicts a mysterious landscape where a river pours into a lake in the middle of a forest beneath a vast sky where constellations are composed of hundreds of tiny people. Other works seem to be illustrations that escaped from an unwritten children's book, where young girls confront ladders to nowhere or become bound up in giant, terrifying spider webs.
"The Space Between Us" is a wordy place where impressionism meets childhood fantasies and phantasmagoria. It's on display at the University Museum in Oxford through June 12th.