FRAMINGHAM — One of the things you notice first in “Eternal Presence,” a terrific career survey of John Wilson at the Danforth Museum of Art, is how attentive Wilson is to the faces of children. From his earliest days sketching his brother to his most recent large-scale drawings in charcoal, the impulse has remained the same: It is an impulse toward clarity, toward truth. He doesn’t sentimentalize or caricature children. He doesn’t give them false or generic expressions. He gets them just so.
What you notice later is the high number of pictures showing children in the arms of adult men and women. But here again, even with this most hackneyed of subjects — a staple throughout art history and across cultures — you don’t feel the motif is clichéd or generic.