Born in Albury in 1964, Wilson moved to Sydney in 1988 where she was accepted at the Darlinghurst Tech School of Art. After a year she reluctantly abandoned her studies as an opportunity presented itself to move to remote East Arnhem.
Far removed from her urban existence she immersed herself into the community and their culture and remained there for 2 years. While there she was heavily influenced by ancient symbolism, which became a major factor in her work.“Living in East Arnhem Land was a valuable experience and one I will always cherish, this privilege gave me the opportunity to later express storytelling through my art”.
For decades Wilson would use her hands to paint, quite a unique technique which was influenced by witnessing weekly ceremonial events, whereby clay was rubbed onto the skin of performers accentuating body form. Straight from the tube onto her hands she would moulds the figure to life on the canvas giving the work a fresh, spontaneous raw look. After years of using this techniques, she only recently starting using the brush for a change.
After Arnhem land she moved to Katherine then Darwin where she studied her BAVA at Darwin University and finished her studies at Newcastle University where she lived with her young family for 6 years before moving to Victoria.
Wilson has been a practicing artist for over 30 years, dedicated mainly to portraiture and landscape exhibiting all throughout Australia. A number of years ago she began participating in the major portraits prizes and has found success at being selected for many of the major prizes in Australia, including; The Salon des Refusé, The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize-twice. The Archibald Prize, The Black Swan Portrait Prize-3times , The Shirley Hannon National Portrait Prize, The Blake International Religious Prize, and in 2021 Lethbridge Landscape Prize. she mocks herself by saying “always the bridesmaid never the bride, but I’m still extremely happy with being a finalists, as for me it’s a win anyway as hundreds of artist from Australia compete for the prize.
In 2003 Rose and her family moved to the picturesque hamlet of East Trentham, whereby she turned her hand to Landscape. “back then i wasn’t really interested in landscape, but the beauty of bush beckoned me and i finally accepted the challenge. “Portraiture is quite taxing so when I need a break I turn to landscape”. Her landscapes take on a more visceral approach than her realistic portraits using palate knifes and thin splashed paint.
I live in a wonderful farming community and One of her most memorable exhibitions was when she was asked by the Regional Gallery of Albury (MAMA) to exhibit. Titled “The Disappearing Farmer” it embarked on a series of portraits that pays homage to the local farming families, operators of traditional small family farms that are experiencing increasing pressure to survive. This was definitely one of her most challenging yet rewarding exhibitions with 22 portraits of farmers and their working dogs. . Her style and technique captures the rugged lifestyle of these farmers, painted in the cores of the rich soils where every member in the family all contribute to the farm’s operation.
Regardless of Wilson diverse styles and content, whether expressive, abstract, realism or impressionism one element is remains evident in her work, and that is her storytelling.