Brooklyn based painter Brian Willmont had mostly been making gouache on paper paintings for years and then began to reduce his work, pushing the narrative out of individual pieces. His paintings today share a graphic and theatrical quality with his references, citing obscure movies and novels, such as Suspiria and Blood and Guts in High School, among his inspirations.
Willmont works in aspects of trompe l’oeil and airbrush into a unique style of graphic abstraction, using symbols like roses dotted with shining dew drops set against geometric patterns; a certain wildness paired with symbols of love, desire, and advertising to create what he calls a “plasti-saccharine-hallucinatory dreamscape.”
The works on display in his current solo show at Victori + Mo in New York, “For Chaos and Wild Again”, stands somewhere between these touches of what is real and what is not- it’s a concept that reflects the detachment Willmont noticed in today’s digitized culture.
Beginning as multiple variations of digital compositions, the paintings in this series are transferred to canvas via stencils prepared with masking tape, allowing a crisp definition of color and lines in the tradition of Michael English and other airbrushing artists of the 1970s and 80s.
Motifs that resemble digital glitches and distortions seem to suggest the invisible screen through which the viewer is looking, where even the canvas and wall itself becomes a barrier between fantasy and life. “I am constantly building my visual vocabulary,” Willmont says- “trying to mix disparate histories and iconographies to build meaning.” Brian Willmont’s “For Chaos and Wild Again” is on view through March 27th, 2016.