Goodbye to Monkeys I-IV, 2017

Etching and aquatint
Printed on Somerset Satin soft white 300gsm
Editions of 20
Plate 30 x 24.5cm

The ‘Goodbye to Monkeys’ series of etchings with aquatint well demonstrates Wilson’s skill and sensitivity – both in terms of his choice of medium for these works (he is a skilled draughtsman and printmaker), and with regards to his subject.  By making what he describes as ‘straightforward anthropomorphic portraits of monkeys’ – whether they be Tibetan Macaques or the Proboscis species – wearing the kinds of expressions we would more readily associate with spurned lovers or poor beggars – Wilson is paying homage to his favoured beasts.  Pregnant with parabolic potential, the monkey has indeed often proved pivotal.  Wilson though has not forgotten the warning given to him by a tutor at art school of never exploiting one’s subject matter.  Wilson took this advice to heart.  His works have begun to morph from being driven by a strongly allegorical narrative into another arena where it is as much about the unseen as the seen, the felt as the remembered.  The monkeys have played their part in Wilson reaching this point, but it is time to say goodbye.  They have been respected, loved even, but not exhausted and never exploited.

Jane Neal, 2018 (text extract from ‘Goodbye to Monkeys’)