Monday's Visual Treat - Day 1/ Big Bang Art Peep Show

William Willis' Krait Crates (2002-06); acrylic/gouache/ink/pencil/collage element on rag paper, photo courtesy of Howard Scott Gallery


As promised, this week's peep show is devoted to ART, and more specifically to artists whose work I find endlessly fascinating, challenging, elusive, and desirable.  The artists selected for our BIG BANG ART/PEEP SHOW are namely: William Willis, Francis Bacon, Graciela Iturbide, Francesco Clemente, and Louise Bourgeois. Enjoy the show, and remember to keep your seat-belts fastened at all times.

Shane (The Peep-Master)

Back in 1990's I was doing the art thing and slumming from gallery to gallery on 1st, 2nd or 3rd Thursday--who really remembers the 90's anyway, or wants to!!  After-hours parties abounded with cheap wine, stale crackers, dried cheese best left alone, and the smell of reefer hovered over outdoor balconies like wet blankets.  The Crow Bar off 20 and K street NW reigned supreme; stiff drinks were pretty cheap at the Big Hunt, and The Orb's Blue Room kept me feeling pretty close to the heavens  After the ego-play and bullshit subsided and the groupies had left, invariably the talk would turn to whose art was respected, admired, wanted, and admittedly worth trading for.  And the name William Willis was always lobbied between groups who considered him one of the best, or the best abstract painter in these parts.  Mind you, still local, but also with a gallery in NYC.  I don't ever remember meeting him, nevertheless the impression upon first viewing one of his paintings still remains strong--BAM!!  I love flipping through his online catalogue and drooling.  Desire held captive (by brushstrokes on canvas or paper and the illusion/allusion/inference/reference/lies/truth/magic/reality/fantasy /magic/sorcery/promise/premise/purpose that is ART (and (a) painting/drawing).

A press release by the Howard Scott Gallery reads:   

The works chosen by the artist and Mr. Scott (his representative in New York since 1995) for the forthcoming exhibition reveal what could be said to be two of the major and enduring influences on his work as an artist: his devotion to Zen Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies in guiding the living of one's life and existing in the world and his profound admiration of the work of certain early Modernists, both European and American (including Georges Braque and Arthur Dove). Mr. Willis has lived his life - to date - within the eastern United States, primarily between Maryland andFlorida. Though for many years he has lived in close proximity to vast bodies of water ( including the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico ), in recent years, he has increasingly been drawn to upland and mountainous, forested, sparsely populated areas, where small streams and creeks etch their paths through rocky landscapes, eventually forming rivers on their journey to the sea. The elemental ingredients of such landscapes have - for years - been a powerful influence on his work.

There exists a symmetry between the spare, yet muscular character of such landscapes and the kinds of poetry to which he is deeply attracted - the creators of which he has honored in certain of his works' titles, as well as in the qualities of the works themselves. These poets include, importantly, Kenneth Rexroth and Hayden Carruth.


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