Artist Spotlight: Letha Wilson

Artist Spotlight: Letha Wilson

Current Exhibitions:

In the Abstract, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA. 6 May 2017 – April 2018

PLATFORM 19: Letha Wilson, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. June 2017 – July 2018

Horizon Eyes, GRIMM Gallery, New York City. 18 March – 22 April 2018

Horizon Eyes, a solo exhibition of new works by Letha Wilson, opened at the GRIMM gallery space in New York last week. The show is the artist’s second solo exhibition with GRIMM and reveals a collection of new sculptures. They ‘combine landscape photographs with industrial materials like aluminium, zinc, concrete and steel.’

The artist uses the natural world as a focal point. Whilst hiking through the Western American states of California, Utah, Colorado, and places as far afield as Iceland, Wilson photographs landscapes in a way that distorts the seemingly ordinary. Her images are deceptively amateurish in their depiction of mountains, trees, rocks, and canyons. Her colour images, taken from these outdoor excursions, are transformed into sculpture-mounted photographs or photo-installations.

Headlands Beach Steel Pipe Bend, 2018. 10-foot photograph of Bryce Canyon, UT (US) printed on steel. Image courtesy artist and gallery.

Wilson’s photographs, whether of plants, snow or distant horizons, become the subject of her experimental and physical processes, which include being creased, cut, crumpled, and encased within cement. The sculptural interventions that Wilson adopts fuses the staticity of her imagery with a physicality that reflects the natural terrains that they reference.

Letha Wilson has always sought to expand the boundaries between photography and sculpture by reinterpreting the photographic medium through a sculptural, phenomenological lens. The industrial materials that Wilson combines with her photographs homogenise the natural landscape and our urban environments. In doing so, Wilson plays with our perspective, obscuring our already complex relationship with the natural world.

As the exhibition’s press release states, Letha Wilson’s latest body of work ‘proposes a new physical presence that has a life of its own beyond the original photograph, the work is as much about its own material as the image that it was born from.


Letha Wilson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii (US), 1976. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York (US). She earned her BFA from Syracuse University (US) in 1998, and an MFA from Hunter College (US) in 2003. Residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Madison, ME (US), The Yaddo Foundation, NY (US), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE (US), and Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA (US). Recent solo exhibitions were organized by the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, PNCA, PO (US) and the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (US) in 2017, Surface Moves, Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris (FR) in 2016 and GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL) in 2015.

Author: George Greenhill

Cover image: Letha Wilson, Sandstone Canyon Utah (Waterlines), 2014. Image courtesy artist and gallery.

*All quotes were sourced from the exhibition press release.