Theo Willis, Dad (left), Minced Oath (right), latex paint and spray paint on galvanized steel, 37″ x 33″ each
Sara Nightingale Gallery is pleased to present Weather Permitting, Whitney Lorenze and Theo Willis, through June 14th.
Although their visual vocabularies and processes differ, Whitney Lorenze and Theo Willis share a mutual engagement with weather and its effect on memory and events. The meteorological environment requires our deference to its autonomy and, ultimately, its power. Relinquishing control and ego are underlying themes in the exhibition.
Having worked with Theo Willis last year, the gallery asked him to select an artist of his choice to exhibit alongside. He recruited Whitney Lorenze, and the two artists worked together to organize and install the show.
In her colorful, graphic paintings, Lorenze explores seasonal rhythms and momentary outdoor phenomena. Using symbols and motifs, such as hedged in lawns or a neon blue pool on a humid August night, her quasi-representational paintings are mined from her own tempestuous memory.
“I am guided by my intuition and the painting process itself. Very little that I do is premeditated; I try to allow the work to be what it tells me it wants to be.” The works are neither illusionistic nor abstract. Instead, they are fragmented, yet familiar, “like a few known words in an otherwise cryptic text.”
Willis’s work engages both literally and physically with uncontrollable environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, wind, and sunlight. The mysterious organic physicality of his paintings, created using humble materials such as house paint and spray paint, reveal themselves rather than submit to the artist’s whims. In many of his paintings, Willis shares his process with collaborators, including some of his artist friends, which brings unpredictability and vulnerability to the work.
The exhibition is on view at the gallery through June 14.