Leah Wilson is a visual artist and writer who lives and works in Eugene, Oregon. Wilson was born and raised in Southern California. After earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, Leah Wilson lived in Nevada City, California, located in California’s Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada foothills to pursue making art and teaching whitewater kayaking. With much overlap in interests, she created a pivotal project influenced by environmental decision-making processes of scientists, resource managers, and special interest groups during the FERC relicensing of the local watershed, the South Yuba River. This experience, as well as years of running whitewater, is the backbone that continues to inform her creative process.

A 2012 artist residency at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades introduced her to ecologists working on long-term studies in the forest. Attracted by the long-term focus of study, she is now an episodic lifetime artist in residence at the Andrews Forest. The place and the scientists continue to shape and influence her artwork. Wilson’s interaction with the forest and its associated ecologists led her to realize that science in general, and ecology in particular, seeks to identify patterns (and changes in patterns) over time. Often, in terms of process and product, the most evident element of her work is repetition, rhythm, and pattern.

Leah Wilson is a founding member of Gray Space, a group of Oregon artists, based in the Corvallis, Eugene and Roseburg areas who came together in 2016 to claim agency and circumvent institutional structures that require artists to ask permission. Gray Space explores how art influences place and place influences art. The project invites the inclusion of an unforeseen or unexpected audience, broadening definitions of where art can exist.

Wilson completed and installed her first major public art installation, Listening to the Forest, part of Oregon’s robust Percent for Art program, in 2020. It can be seen in Oregon State’s University’s Forest Science Complex in the Peavy Hall atrium. Her artwork has been exhibited at galleries including At Liberty Arts in Bend, Oregon, the Maurie Jacobs Plaza in Eugene, Oregon, the Roger W. Rogers Gallery at Willamette University, Cascade Gallery at Portland Community College and Guardino Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and the Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon. Her work is in the collections of Oregon State University, Umpqua Community College, Adobe Systems Inc., eBay, Inc., and other corporate and private collections.

Curriculum Vitae

Education
  • MFA, Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2003
  • BFA, Painting & Drawing, Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna Beach, CA, 1995
Solo & Two Person Exhibitions
  • Time and Place: Ecological Works by Leah Wilson, At Liberty Arts, Bend, OR (Solo), 2019
  • Collecting Evanescence, Lane Community College, Main Gallery, Eugene, OR (Solo), 2019
  • Collecting Evanescence, Truckenbrod Gallery, Corvallis, OR (Solo), 2018
  • Solstices and Equinoxes: Paintings by Leah Wilson, Roger W. Rogers Gallery, Willamette University, Salem, OR (Solo), 2017
  • Leah Wilson: Ambient, Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Roseburg, OR (Solo), 2015
  • The Structure of Nature, The Arts Center, Corvallis, OR (Two Person), 2014
  • Leah Wilson: Distillations of Place, Cascade Gallery, Portland, OR (Solo), 2013
  • Guardino Gallery, Portland, OR (Two Person), 2010
  • Tropes, Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts, Eugene, OR (Solo), 2009
  • Shifting Landscapes, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA (Two Person), 2006
  • Yuba Songs, Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, Nevada City, CA (Solo), 2006
  • Love Poems to the Yuba, 560, Nevada City, CA (Solo), 2005 Internal, Howard Rice, San Francisco, CA (Solo), 2002
  • New Works, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA (Solo), 2000
Collaborative & Public Art
  • Listening to the Forest, Percent for Art, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon State University, Forest Science Complex, Peavy Hall Atrium, Corvallis, OR, 2020
  • Metanoia Catalyst, BRIDGE Exhibition, Hult Center Plaza, Eugene, OR (Leah Wilson & Kate Ali), 2018
  • Gray Space, Founding Member, Eugene, Corvallis & Roseburg, OR 2016 – Present
Selected Group Exhibitions
  • Reflections Space: OPEN, Anti-Aesthetic Gallery, Eugene Contemporary Art & BRIDGE Exhibitions, Eugene, OR, 2020

  • Common Ground, Anti-Aesthetic Gallery, Eugene Contemporary Art, Eugene, OR, 2020
  • Divergence, At Liberty Arts, Bend, OR, 2019
  • Gray Space and Tailgate Party for Art, Eugene Contemporary Art, Eugene, OR, 2018
  • Rot: The Afterlife of Trees, The World Forestry Center, Portland, OR, 2016
  • Rot: The Afterlife of Trees, The Arts Center, Corvallis, OR, 2016
  • The Art of Plankton, The Arts Center, Corvallis, OR, 2012
  • Green, Green the Color of New, David Joyce Gallery, Lane Community College, Eugene, OR, 2012
  • Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, Nevada City, CA, 2008
  • Below the Surface, Fly Trap Gallery, Sacramento, CA, 2005
  • Small Works, Julie Baker Fine Art, Grass Valley, CA, 2004
  • Small Works, Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA, 2004
  • River Lovers, Lotus Art Studio, Lotus, CA, 2004
  • Spring!, Julie Baker Fine Art, Grass Valley, CA, 2004
  • Close Calls, Headlands Center for the Arts, Project Space East/West, Sausalito, CA, 2004
  • San Francisco Art Institute Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, Fort Mason, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco, CA, 2003
  • Continuing, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2002 Slack Jaw, Studio Z, San Francisco, CA, 2002
  • Crossing Bridges, CBS MarketWatch, San Francisco, CA, 2002
  • Ambulatory Gambit, Sunnyside Conservatory, San Francisco, CA, 2002
  • Berührungsangst, 701 Chestnut, San Francisco, CA, 2001
  • Magnificent Seven, Café Roma, Davis, CA, 2001
  • Spring Show, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2001 Me We, Justice League, San Francisco, CA, 2001
  • Pigmentations, Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA, 2001
  • Annual Alumni Exhibition, Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna Beach, CA, 2000
  • That Figures, Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA, 1998
  • Annual Alumni Exhibition, Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna Beach, CA, 1998
  • Unusual Perceptions, Hello Artichoke Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 1997
  • Annual Alumni Exhibition, Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna Beach, CA, 1997
  • The Really Big Show, Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA, 1997
  • Southern California Open Juried Exhibition, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA, 1997
  • Centered on the Center, Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA, 1996
  • Thirteen After Four, Artegeo, Orange, CA, 1994
Collections
  • PacificSource, Springfield, OR
  • Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR
  • Oregon State University, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue River, OR
  • Adobe Systems, Inc., Frankfurt, Germany
  • Adobe Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA
  • eBay, Inc., San Jose, CA
  • Namco Hometek, Inc., Santa Clara, CA
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, San Francisco, CA
Featured Publications
  • Oregon Historical Quarterly, Winter 2018/2019 (Artwork featured on the front and back covers)
Bibliography
  • McInally, Mike, “’Evanescence’ at the Intersection of Art, Science” The Corvallis Gazette-Times, October 4, 2018
  • Fourie, Andries, “Solstices and Equinoxes: Paintings by Leah Wilson” Roger W. Rogers Gallery, January, 2017
  • Sherk, Christine, “Outside the Lines, Nature as Muse” The Register-Guard, April 4, 2012
  • Keefer, Bob, “Trash Runs Through It,” The Register-Guard, July 16, 2009
  • Steffen, Suzi, “Colored by Science,” Eugene Weekly, July 16, 2009
  • Chamberland, Celeste, “On the Cutting Edge,” The Davis Enterprise, August 16, 2001
Essays
  • “Robert Varela offers a whimsical ascent into isolation”, Critical MAS, Eugene Contemporary Art, August, 2020
  • “Kathleen Caprario’s seductively beautiful painting lures into thorny landscapes”, Critical MAS, Eugene Contemporary Art, August, 2019
  • “Discovery Trail” ROT: The Afterlife of Trees, Exhibition Catalog, The Arts Center, January, 2016
Professional Presentations, Events & Community
  • Guest Lecturer, Place as Collaborator, Corvallis Art Guild, November 2, 2020

  • Guest Lecturer, Art of the Microbiome, Oregon State University, February 6, 2020
  • Panelist, Time and Place: Ecological Works by Leah Wilson, Moderated by Andries Fourie with Dr. Brooke Penaluna (research fish biologist with Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S.D.A. Forest Service) Dr. Michael Nelson (a philosopher and economist who is Oregon State’s lead principal investigator at Andrews) and Louise Shirley (Curator of Natural History at the High Desert Museum). The discussion provided context for the artwork and explored the convergence of art and science as ways of investigating the natural world, At Liberty Gallery, November 16, 2019
  • Professional Presenter, Collecting Evanescence: Seven Years at the Andrews, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, November 1, 2019
  • Panelist, Divergence (Beauty), At Liberty Arts, Bend, OR, July 6, 2019
  • Panelist, Making Your Own Way: Strategies for Building Visibility, Lane Arts Council, Eugene, Oregon, 2019
  • Guest Lecturer, Imagining Ecosystems Over Time, Environmental Arts and Humanities Field Course, Oregon State University, September, 2016
  • Professional Presenter, Art-Science Convergences at OSU, Spring Creek Project, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, April 7, 2016
  • Professional Presenter, Science Pub, Corvallis, OR, November 9, 2015
  • Professional Presenter, Artists: Voices, Perceptions, & Motivations, Real Time Data Visualizations: A 21st Century Confluence of Art, Music and Science at Ecological Research Sites, Hubbard Brook LTER, NH, November 5, 2015
  • Professional Presenter, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, HJA Day, June 25, 2015 Invited Artist,
  • Honoring Our Rivers Anthology, 2015
  • Professional Presenter, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, HJA Day, June 26, 2014
  • Professional Presenter, Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, November 14, 2013
  • Guest Artist, Willamette Riverkeeper, Paddle Oregon, 2010
Residencies & Membership
  • Episodic Lifetime Resident Artist, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, OR
  • Artist Member, Eugene Contemporary Art, 2019 – Present
  • Artist in Residence, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, OR, 2012

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