William T. Wiley, ‘Ocean Notion’, 2013, Hosfelt Gallery

About William T. Wiley

New York Times art critic Ken Johnson once said of William T. Wiley that “you might think he’d been invented by Thomas Pynchon.” Wiley was one of the founding fathers of West Coast Funk Art, alongside Robert Arneson, Roy Robert Hudson, and Roy DeForest. He rose to prominence in the 1970s with his offbeat representational style and narrative focus in painting, which was then in opposition to the widespread influence of Abstract Expressionism. Wiley’s works combined mystical iconography from Zen Buddhism, textual elements, regional aesthetics, humanist philosophy, and darkly funny commentary on politics, environmental issues, and global conflict. There is a recurring character in some of his works, a lanky figure with an awkward nose in a dunce cap and a bathrobe, named Mr. Unnatural. Wiley also creates drawings and assemblage sculpture.

American, b. 1937, Bedford, Indiana, based in California

Exhibition Highlights

2016
John Natsoulas Gallery, 
Davis,