Ross Wilson

One of the most collectable artists of his generation

Born in 1957, Ross Wilson spent his youth in Co Antrim. He did Foundation Studies at Ulster Poytechnic from 1978-1979, followed by a degree in Fine Art at the University of Ulster College of Art and Design 1979-82, graduating with First Class Honours. He then obtained a Master’s degree from Chelsea School of Art, London in 1983.


Today, he is amongst the most collectable contemporary Irish artists of his generation, and he is perhaps best known for his portraits.


Sitters have included literary figures Joseph Brodsky, Brian Moore and Anthony C West. He was also commissioned to paint Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott of St Lucia for the National Portrait Gallery in London.


His animal subjects include the rooster and a running horse motif. Wilson has worked in a variety of media including charcoal, and a mixture of wax, acrylic, enamel, and oil. His first bronze public sculpture commission in 1997 was placed at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, and his 1998 C S Lewis Centenary Sculpture is located at the Holywood Arches, Belfast.


Wilson’s solo exhibition venues have included Queen’s University Belfast (1980), The Fenderesky Art Gallery, Belfast (1985), the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (since 1988), and group exhibitions have included RUA Exhibitions in Belfast (since 1980), the Kenny Gallery in Galway (1990) and other Belfast, Dublin and London venues.


His landscapes and animal subjects, in particular the horse are also represented in the British Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum and the Ulster Museum, and also in the Barbados Museum of Art, West Indies and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1992, he and J. Leslie-McKeown founded One Oxford Street Gallery in Belfast to show work of younger artists, and in 1998, Wilson helped set up the innovative ‘New Art of the Irish’ open exhibition to show works by contemporary Irish artists.