Institute of Psychiatry – SGDP Atrium, Kings College London, De Crespigny Park London, SE5 8AF
30th March–24th June 2011


Bethlem Gallery, 2nd March-1st April 2011.

Event 12th March 2011

3D artwork

Shelley Wilson, winner of the 1997 Wellcome Trust Sci-Art prize, trained at Camberwell College of Art following a foundation at the the Sir John Cass School.  She is a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

An established artist, she has been working alongside the scientific and clinician community since 1995.  Her works are primarily concerned with identity, the motivations that drive an individual and, in turn, perceptions within society relating to that individual.  Wilson’s exhibitions in the UK and overseas have seen her collaborate with the most eminent members of the scientific world to comment on topical science based and ethical issues ranging from genetics to conjoined twins.

In a departure from her partnerships with noted scientists like the late Professor Arthur Crisp (her partner on the award winning Wellcome Sci-Art project) and Professor David Hopkinson (whose research concentrates on locating the genes responsible for facial features), her last exhibition ‘Body Politic’ took the socio-political climate surrounding the general election in 2010 as subject material in a celebration of the experiences of the 150 MP’s who stepped down at that time.

This year Wilson has returned to her exploration of medical conditions and the effects of these conditions on the corporeal, psychological and spiritual components of an individual.  Her dual show ‘Self Contained’, with simultaneous exhibitions at the Bethlem Gallery in Kent and the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, coincides with Science Week and combines sculptural and photographic elements.  Working within the disciplines of ceramics, sculpture and photography, Wilson investigates the interaction between material (be that celluloid, wax, clay) and the physical and psychological aspects of her subject matter.  The artist’s manipulation of clay and her technique of processing the solid form through a photographic lens before altering the resulting image back into a 3D form transfuses a raw energy into her work.  Thus Wilson creates the necessary tensions, encouraging the observer to understand his/her illusions of control.  She seeks reconciliation with, and presentation of, a reality beyond the scientific measure she works to.

Motivated by personal experience (“I have an interest in this field as one of my close family members was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. …” – Shelley Wilson),  ‘Self Contained’ explores the pertinent issues surrounding dementia, focusing on the patient’s loss of identity, the impact this loss has on the carers and family as well as the social stigma this symptom attaches to the disease.  Wilson asks how the loss of an individual identity can shift that of a family.

Each piece in this new body of work speaks of the mental anguish of all parties touched by the dementia, removing any boundaries between the sufferer and those witnessing the suffering so their experiences can be understood at once and in parallel.  She hopes to draw attention to the disease and all of its implications, encouraging more open discourse in a bid to chip at the preconceptions surrounding the condition.  Working towards this goal, information relating to the latest science-led developments in research and treatment of dementia forms an integral part of the exhibition and underscores the artist’s themes.


Contact the artist:
Shelley Wilson  0785 507 3354 / 0208 464 7155

Solo Exhibitions

3rd – 28th Feb 2011
Signature Group Exhibition of Kensington & Chelsea Lecturers

Mar-June 2011
Self Contained
Bethlem Royal Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry London

Body Politic
Westminster Reference Library London

Joint Account
The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret London

Family Faces
Gallery Oldham [Museum], Oldham.

Female Puberty & a Search for an Identity
Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Arts. London
Royal College of Physicians. London
Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecology,London

ART ’96
Business Design Centre, London (Maureen Michaelson Gallery)

Recent Works 1994
The Studio Beckenham, Kent

Photographic Exhibition
Plantation House Complex, London


St. Peters College, Oxford
Wellcome Trust, London
Meghraj Bank, London
Various private UK and European collections


Meghraj Bank, London
Wellcome Trust, London
Allen & Overy, London
Private U.K. Commissions