Alison Wilding was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. She studied at Ravensbourne College of Art and, from 1970 to 1973, at the Royal College of Art in London. Her sculpture is closely concerned with the physical qualities of materials. She uses traditional as well as contemporary sculptural processes, such as modelling, carving, casting and constructing to explore the contrasts and relationships between materials. Her sculptures often consist of two separate elements, which suggest opposites such as positive-negative, male-female, light-dark. She uses a wide range of materials, including copper, wood, beeswax, lead, galvanised steel, transparent plastics, silk, fossils, rubber and paints; these enable her to establish unusual juxtapositions of form, colour and surface. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1988 and 1992.
In 2013-2014, Tate Britain's Duveen galleries hosted a display of works by Alison Wilding. Featuring a new acquisition, 'Vanish and Detail', 2004, the display spanned a significant period of the artist's career with a selection of works drawn from Tate's collection.
Wilding's first major solo exhibition was held at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1985. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Deep Water', Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 2013; 'Drawing, Drone 1- 10', Karsten Schubert, London, 2012; 'How the Land Lies', New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury, 2011; 'Contract', Henry Moore Foundation Studio, Halifax 2000-01 and 'New Work', New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury 2000.
Wilding's work can be found in major collections nationally and internationally, including Arts Council of Great Britain, British Council, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, Musée de Beaux Arts, Calais, France, and Scottish National Gallery.