2012 SECA Artist David Wilson Explores San Francisco’s Lost Corners and In-Between Stretches of Natural and Developed Space
Oakland-based artist David Wilson engages with experience of place through a meditative drawing practice and through the orchestration of site-specific gatherings. The events that he organizes as ‘Ribbons’ grow out of long periods of space discovery and plein air study, and draw together a wide net of artists, performers, filmmakers, chefs, and artisans, into situation based collaborative relationships.
Wilson’s works on paper and performance-based pieces have explored what he describes as “the many lost corners and in-between stretches of natural and developed space” in the Bay Area, including locations such as Angel Island, Bolinas Beach, and the Marin Headlands. He often announces his participatory gatherings and site-specific installations through invitations that include folded maps with directions and sketches meant to guide attendees to carefully composed situations.
Over the course of his SECA exhibition, Wilson will develop a series of self-guided journeys to six outdoor sites throughout San Francisco titled Arrivals (2013). Each journey begins at a central trailhead located at the main entrance of SFMOMA’s Third Street building where visitors can pick up hand-drawn maps with instructions for the experience. The first map will lead to a eucalyptus grove at the Presidio, where the artist has installed an elaborate, 16-foot-high ink drawing spread over twenty sheets of paper. “I was looking for a spot in San Francisco where there would be a sense of outdoor, natural architecture—a gallery in the forest—and see what happens when a drawing is placed in a living environment,” he says. The drawing depicts another natural landmark in Northern California—Frog Woman Rock, a distinctive rock formation in the Russian River Canyon recreational area that, for Wilson, evokes expectation and the excitement of arrival on his frequent trips to the area. Whether working in large groups or one-on-one exchanges, Wilson’s ephemeral projects often involve collaboration with a rich community of musicians, filmmakers, and other artists. His Arrivals series will continue this interest, featuring tape recordings of song, music, or sound-based performances previously made at each location by Wilson with guest collaborators such as Andy Cabic (of Vetiver), Danny Paul Grody (of Tarentel and The Drift), Colter Jacobsen (of Coconut), Holly Herndon, Sonny Smith (of Sonny & The Sunsets), and Sarah Simon and Kate Sweeney (of Magic Magic Roses).
Documentation of Wilson’s piece will be regularly updated on SFMOMA’s website throughout the exhibition. In addition to the six journey maps, he will use the timeframe of his SFMOMA exhibition as a residency to generate new drawings during his daily exploration of the city, and add them to the trailhead throughout the run of the show.