Represented by Peters Projects
Peters Projects, 1011 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, is pleased to present Diné (Navajo) artist Will Wilson and his solo exhibition AIR, opening on Friday, December 16th running through February 18, 2017. Peters Projects will host an opening reception from 5-7 pm. on Friday, December 16. In addition, the gallery will host a discussion with Will Wilson and the Autry Museum of the West Chief Curator, Amy Scott on Friday, January 13, 2017, 4pm.
Will Wilson has described AIR (Auto Immune Response) multi-media series as a dialogue with “a post-apocalyptic Navajo man’s journey through an uninhabited landscape.” Will Wilson uses self-portrait as the main character searching for answers about survival: Where has everyone gone? What has occurred to transform the familiar and strange landscape that he wanders? Why has the land become toxic to him? How will he respond, survive, reconnect to the earth?” Wilson creates tension in his photography and installations as the artist believes that Indigenous people remain responsible for protecting the environment and its future for all species. This story underlies the “quixotic relationship between a post-apocalyptic Diné (Navajo) man and the devastatingly beautiful, but toxic environment he inhabits.”
The exhibition will include Will Wilson’s large format photographs from his AIR series and an installation in Peters Projects’ largest gallery space based on his greenhouse Hogan. The 10 ft diameter metal greenhouse is created by the artist to replicate a traditional Navajo dwelling. The greenhouse is covered with air plants, symbolizing survival in this imagined post-apocalyptic environment. Inside is a metal cot designed by the artist with woven plastic tubing of running water that simulates the flow of blood in veins, and illustrating that botany cultivates vital resources that cannot be ignored in the post-nuclear world. As Will Wilson states: “My hope is that this project will serve as a pollinator, creating formats for exchange and production that question and challenge the social, cultural and environmental systems that surround us.”
The AIR series has been shown in numerous museums, with the latest showing hosted by the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe. Peters Projects will be the first commercial gallery to make these works available to the public. Will Wilson believes in the “allegorical investigation of the extraordinarily rapid transformation of Indigenous lifeways, the disease it has caused, and strategies of response that enable cultural survival.”
02/17/2017 - Art Press Magazine
Auto Immune Response (AIR) is a series of compelling large-scale photographs and installations by Diné (Navajo) artist Will Wilson. Using himself as the subject, Wilson addresses environmental change and individual agency to unveil an interrelated utopian/ dystopian worldview. Often depicted wearing a gas mask, the artist foregrounds what he calls the “quixotic relationship between a post-apocalyptic Diné (Navajo) man and the devastatingly beautiful, but toxic environment he inhabits.” AIR 5, an inkjet print on archival paper from 2005, captures a double portrait of the artist—companion images that are tethered and sustained by intertwined oxygen tubes. The resulting image, one of the few color prints, evokes the promise of a new land emerging from the ruins of the past. The artist who clears a path towards a new utopia once again makes the once pristine and now toxic environment inhabitable. Three generations are depicted in a large-scale inkjet print, which places Wilson, his mother and his daughter against an expansive panoramic landscape. In AIR: Confluence of 3 Generations, 2015, the artist and his daughter are wearing oxygen masks while the mother is standing and breathing the polluted air without mediation. The child, positioned between the mother and the artist, is closest to the viewer—acting as our empathetic surrogate. The mother anchors the right side of the print, allowing the viewer to interpret the image as a movement through time as well as the possibility of a sustainable evolution that would give humans the ability to survive an environmental meltdown. A greenhouse hogan (traditional dwelling) is installed in the central part of the gallery. This circular piece, constructed from metal rails, is adorned with four rows of Tillandsia air plants—bearing witness to the need for oxygen in a post-apocalyptic world. A cot assembled from clear tubing is strategically placed inside the hogan, engaging the viewer in the installation. The tubes are brought to life with aerated water bubbles that evoke a life force flowing through the body. Wilson’s work is part of a movement of Native American artists who are mining their ancient lineage while simultaneously looking forward and embracing new media art as a tool for telling their stories. This exciting new artistic trajectory is reinforcing the role of indigenous societies as vital, environmental protectors as well as active cultural producers for the twenty-first century.
09/01/2015 - Shutter - TREND Magazine
If you were to form your impress of Will Wilson mainly through his photographs and the interviews he's given the media, you'd probably fancy him rather serious and academic, perhaps overly so. In one series, he's the gas masked survivor in a post-apocalyptic landscape; in another, a two-panel self-portrait, he's a Native American on one side and a cowboy on the other.