Artist Lois Wilson to be subject of Year of Alabama Arts lecture series

AUBURN – Artist and historian Laquita Thomson will examine the life and work of artist and Alabama native Lois Wilson on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m. at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Thomson is an associate professor at Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee.

The presentation is part of “New Perspectives: Looking at 20th-Century Alabama Art,” a lecture series celebrating the Year of Alabama Arts.

Both Thomson and Wilson have Auburn University ties. Thomson received a master of fine arts degree in painting and printmaking from AU in 1991. Her interest in the history of Alabama art began in 1979 and evolved into an ongoing project of recording oral histories of living artists in the south.

Wilson studied architecture at Auburn in the year 1924-1925 before enrolling in Child’s School of Art in Boston. She moved to Greenwich Village in New York in 1935, working odd jobs and taking art classes. She joined the Women’s Army Corp at the start of World War II. With the benefit of the GI bill, she was able to attend the Art Students League when she returned to New York after the war.

Wilson maintained her Alabama roots after moving to the northeast, where she worked in a variety of media and styles during her long career. Her work exhibits the influences of her training and the art world around her as well as characteristics of the self-taught artist.

Thomson is a historian whose research subjects stretch two centuries, from the early 19th-century artist Nathan Negus to the printmaker and painter Maltby Sykes. She worked closely with the late Jack Black of Fayette, Ala., an important supporter of Alabama arts, to document the Lois Wilson art collection that came to Wilson’s home town of Fayette at the end of her life.

In addition to her master’s degree from Auburn, Thomson holds a bachelor’s degree in painting and printmaking from Mississippi University for Woman and master’s degrees in both history and education, from the University of Alabama Huntsville and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, respectively.

The next “New Perspectives” lecture, “Approaching the Territory: William Christenberry’s Klan Tableau,” will be presented on March 6 by Allen Tullos of Emory University.

The series is sponsored by AU’s Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is co-sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book, AU Art Department, and Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. For more information, call (334) 844-4946.

(Contributed by Mark Wilson.)

Contact: Mark Wilson, (334) 844-4946 (wilson@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999, (clardch@auburn.edu)