Michelle Wilson

 First Time Art Party Participant
Division Series 3


Artist’s Website



Artist’s Statement

My work finds synchronicity between personal narrative and contemplative activism.


It takes the form of paper, installations, sculptures, prints, artist books, collages, and social practice interventions.


As war, global warming, and unrest increase worldwide, I constantly ask myself, what can I do as an artist? How do I contribute to solutions when the world seems to be rapidly falling apart? As these thoughts continue, I find myself thinking about the politics of heartbreak. To be clear, this is not the heartbreak of lost love, but the breaking open of the heart to compassion for the suffering of the world. This is not sentimental; it is a form of courage and strength in the face of oppression. Added to these ideas is the growing body of evidence that exposure to art increases a sense of empathy. With this as a basis, I create intersecting narratives, inviting viewers to reflects on a crossroads of ideas: politics and the environment, colonialism and natural history, language and how it informs thought, the loss of diversity, and how social and environmental justice go in unison. In these narratives, location, landscape, and history of place greatly inform the work. They are more than setting; they are characters and catalysts for transformation.


A significant part of my practice is making my own paper. This paper is typically from plants I grow myself, or invasive plants I harvest, for which my studio practice becomes a means of clearing habitat space for native ecology. Paper is traditionally considered a substrate. However, in my work, the very fibers of its making transcend this to become signifier, content, documentation of history and place, and an embodiment of site-specificity. The plants I gather manifest records of seed migrations, weather patterns, soil conditions, climate change and other intersections between humanity and the natural world. These manifestations in paper become a lens to view the greater world, and serve as an impetus for storytelling.


My work addresses a changing world, and the complexities of meaning, sentiment, and consequences therein.

About the Artist

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