Patrick D. Wilson / Ersatz Nomad

EXHIBITION / April, 2016

Patrick D. Wilson will be working directly in the gallery throughout the month of April, where he will install and make frequent alterations to his work, Ersatz Nomad, one of several installation pieces conceived of during Wilson’s travel to Qinghai, China in 2015. In Qinghai, the ethnic Tibetan nomads use a tent woven from yak wool. The tents are often decades old with patched and replaced areas where the wind has torn the fibers loose. The interiors of these tents have a clay hearth, stores of yak dung, food and usually a Buddhist altar. Due to their weight and labor-intensive construction, the use of this tent has been in decline for decades. Their users have been phasing them out in favor of mass-produced synthetic tents. Meanwhile, the yak wool is seeing an increased external demand for its use in the textile industry. The central form in Ersatz Nomad is taken from the architecture of the rectangular stretched canopy of the traditional black tent. The constituent elements are a mix of synthetic and natural materials held in place by scrap wood and woven rope, very similar to the method used in Tibetan regions. Ersatz Nomad will be in a state of metamorphosis for the duration of its installation, acquiring new materials and elements each week until it is broken down for installation somewhere else. This process will create a living work that parallels the improvisations, discoveries, and erasures characteristic of cultural transformation.


Wilson’s works employ video, photography and architectural forms to explore issues of urban expansion and cultural transformation. His works frequently use digital technologies alongside traditional fabrication methods and vernacular objects. In 2012, Wilson was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to photograph construction sites in Chongqing China. Since that time he has used the frontier areas of urban development in China as his core area of research.  He has exhibited widely in locations such as the Sichuan Fine Art Institute in Chongqing, SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Jones Center for Art in Austin Texas and the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountainview, California. Wilson received a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he later taught as an adjunct faculty member. He is currently Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Integrated Media and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Posted on March 25, 2016 .