Tona Wilson, _Whitewash_, watercolor and gouache on black paper, 11â€ x 14â€, 2004. Image provided.
So often the best artists are those whose work draws from their counterparts in other disciplines.
The inspiration and namesake for New Paltz artist Tona Wilson’s new show at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson (through January 21) come from “Whitewash,” a song by German composers Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisner. In the song, Brecht’s lyrics address the idea of hiding and covering up political realities.
“I had been concerned with how we human beings, as individuals, avoid seeing frightening and uncomfortable truths,” Wilson says. “In particular, the denial of our own mortality, the way we live as though there were something certain, as though death was not part of our reality. This seems quite appropriate at the moment.”
It was late in 2004, after completing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer (she’s fine now), Wilson began working on a painting based on the Brecht-Weil song “Pirate Jenny” from “Threepenny Opera.” As she got deeper into Brecht’s music, she decided to attempt a series of paintings inspired by the renowned Weimer-era figure.
Wilson was born in New York City and grew up mostly in the Hudson Valley. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lived in Buenos Aires from 1982 to 1988.
“My work in Buenos Aires was mostly in oils, mostly figurative, and had echoes of my early infatuation with German Expressionist work,” Wilson says.
(518) 828-1915; www.carriehaddadgallery.com.