Born in Penarth in 1951, Wilson studied at Preston Polytechnic, Bath Academy and Chelsea School of Art, also spending a year in Berlin on a DAAD Postgraduate Fellowship in 1975. Work produced during this period was exhibited as a solo show at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien and at the 6th Berliner Frier Kunst Austellung under the DAAD umbrella. Between 1979 and 2011 he combined work as a lecturer at the University of Ulster with a concentrated studio practice and, in 2002, was appointed Course Leader for the prestigious Master of Fine Art course, a position he held until 2011. In 2008 he was appointed Reader in Fine Art.
During the 80s he was represented in Ireland by the Oliver Dowling Gallery, Dublin and latterly, until 2011, by Hugh Mulholland at the Third Space Gallery, Belfast. He has exhibited extensively throughout this period both at home and abroad, including: installations for Dogs have no religion, Museum of Modern Art, Prague; Irish Artists, Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, USA; and a residency at the Nuovo Icona Gallery, Venice, culminating in the installation Fonte at the Oratorio San Ludovico, 2003.
Wilson has had numerous solo shows at the Oliver Dowling Gallery in Dublin and was one of fourteen artists that represented Northern Ireland in the 2005 Venice Biennale as part of The Nature of Things, curated by Hugh Mullholland. In more recent years he has had solo exhibitions in Belfast, Derry, Manchester and Berlin.