Shoots and Ladders - New Paintings by Simon McWilliams"Restoration Dust" oil on Linen Simon McWilliams 2012
Irish Artist Simon McWilliams brings his unique perspective on the urban landscape to the heart of Culver City's art district with an exhibition of his new paintings at Skotia Gallery. McWilliams takes his observations of the city around him and filters them through his bold, painterly imagination. What he delivers is a fictional developing city, housing mysterious forms cloaked with impasto paint, reminiscent of Christo’s wrapped buildings. Not a drab concrete city but a new optimistic metropolis, resplendent in abundant, tactile colours, promising, “a glorious morrow”
Sound drawing and painterliness combine to produce a unique vision that is part fact and part fantasy. Dust clouds created by ant-like workers on vast scaffolds, glitter in the sunlight taking on ghostly appearances. Victorian palm houses burst with growth; a profusion of exotic plants and organic shapes, green shoots grappling and seemingly merging with the cast iron struts, the natural and the manmade conjoin, to harness and energize the environment.
The subject matter of his work is primarily urban architecture, especially large construction sites that McWilliams interprets with a wild exuberance of color, as if these structures were not being built but were blooming in a hothouse environment. He also paints greenhouses so perhaps the analogy is an especially apt one. It's a fevered and fantastic take on the prodigious efforts we human's make to build new stuff all the time. The hothouse metaphor reminding us of the impact all this activity is having on the atmosphere and that does load the work with an angle of interpretation. But he does not address it directly. This is visual work first, conceptual second.
Capturing a kind of grand and dizzying chaos that is both beautiful and alarming. By doing so for purely visual reasons the potential for analogy to our own crazy civilization and it's dazzling potential for demise is made all the more powerful.
6144 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA90232