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 opposite such as positive-negative, male-female, light-dark. She uses a wide range of different 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.
Wilding's first major solo exhibition was held at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1985. Recent solo shows include Alison Wilding 'All Cats are Grey' 2010, Karsten Schubert, LondonKarsten Schubert, London, 2008; Rupert Wace, Ancient Art, 2006; Henry Moore Foundation Studio, Dean Clough, Halifax 2000/01 and New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury 2000.
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.