Howard Scott Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the American painter, William Willis, which will open to the public on Thursday, 11 January and be installed through Saturday, 3 February 2007.
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 and Florida. 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.
The paintings and works on paper which will compose the exhibition reveal the parameters of scale employed by Mr. Willis in recent years, and the selection concentrates on works of relatively intimate scale, with two quite large paintings included as counterpoint.
William Willis' work has been exhibited publicly since 1976, including a number of solo exhibitions in museums and university galleries [amongst which are a twelve-year survey of his work at The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (with catalogue; 1989) and the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro ]. The January exhibition will be his fifth solo show with Howard Scott Gallery.
"There is a dialogue which takes place between an artist and a painting in process. The maker must be mindful of what the painting itself wants to become. When the conversation ends, the painting is completed." …William Willis