Friday, 14 July 2023 09:36

New at The Tang: Exhibition Features Acclaimed New Mexico–Based Artist

Paula Wilson, Elders, 2021, ink, watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic, and oil on paper, muslin, and canvas, 91 x 83 inches, collection of Chris and Catherine Clifford. Paula Wilson, Elders, 2021, ink, watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic, and oil on paper, muslin, and canvas, 91 x 83 inches, collection of Chris and Catherine Clifford.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents Paula Wilson: Toward the Sky’s Back Door, a new exhibition featuring the work of renowned multimedia artist Paula Wilson. The exhibition opens July 15 and will be on view through Dec. 30.

Wilson, who was born in Chicago and lives and works in Carrizozo, New Mexico (population: 971), has gained international recognition for work that spans painting, printmaking, collage, and video. 

Toward the Sky’s Back Door presents paintings, prints, collages, sculpture, dress, and videos from the past 15 years, including new work to be shown for the first time, such as a monumental, 20-foot-tall figure and site-specific work that will cover a gallery wall. Wilson’s approach challenges the separations between art and everyday living as she uses the same techniques to make art for viewing and art for function, like wood-slat painted and printed “rugs.” 

Often biographically oriented, her work investigates the polarities of human life, including her own identity as a biracial Black woman and her experiences living in both major metropolises and the small desert railroad town of Carrizozo. A reverence for all living things and a rigorous investigation into cross-cultural histories permeates the work. 

Wilson’s unconventional approach will also include the installation of a newly constructed swing in the gallery, made with her frequent collaborator and husband, Mike Lagg. Visitors will be invited to swing while viewing Wilson’s artwork all around them, offering a joyful new perspective on art viewing.

The opening of the exhibition coincides with the museum’s annual community open house, called Frances Day after the museum’s namesake, on July 15. To mark the occasion, Wilson will give a gallery talk and engage visitors of all ages in an art-making project beginning at 2 pm. 

For more information, call the Tang Visitor Services Desk at 518-580-8080 or visit

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