To say that Donald Roller Wilson is an American narrative realist painter does not do justice to his extraordinary imagination and skill. With the intricate technique of an Old Master, and a good deal of deadpan humor, the artist spins allegorical fantasies acted out by a wild company of recurring characters. The subjects are animals – mostly monkeys, dogs and cats — who navigate a hallucinogenic world of proper Victorian décor in brightly colored antique outfits.
Born in Texas and based in Arkansas, Roller Wilson’s work is tied to the manners and storytelling of the American South. His work has been exhibited across the country and is held in many public collections, among them the Brooklyn Museum, NY; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked with musician Frank Zappa, producing the cover art for a series of albums, and his work can also be found in the collections of a number of high-profile actors and musicians.