Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present SPLASH, an exhibition of paintings by William Betts. In his third solo show at the gallery, Betts’ continues to investigate the role surveillance and illusion of privacy in contemporary society through a balance of technology and painting.
Betts’ cleverly shuffles the notion of the viewer’s gaze. The artist uses surveillance footage and photographic images taken as a distant observer with a long lens. Captivated by the structural components of images, he re-contextualizes them through enhancing pixel components, digital artifacts and simplified colors; then, the artist programs a CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machine to apply single drops of acrylic paint to canvas. His finished paintings illuminate an intersection between landscape painting and the photographic source material, both traditionally having disparate intentions and viewing experiences. It is this exchange between traditional painting and ubiquitous documentation that Betts is mediating.
For this exhibition, Betts’ presents a series of beach and pool-scapes, inspired by his travels and home city of Miami Beach, Florida. He says, “Although formally vague narrative pictures of holiday revelers, the point-of-view, the distance and the subject are all meant to convey a slight sense of unease. I use seemingly carefree subject matter to examine this societal shift from the perspective of someone photographing just out of the subject’s awareness.”
William Betts received a B.A. in Studio Fine Art from Arizona State University in 1991. Betts has been a recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards. His work has been exhibited domestically and internationally most recently at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Praha, Czech Republic and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart as part of the exhibition Rasterfahndung (Tracing the Grid). The artist lives and works in Miami, FL.