If the pictorial lyricism of abstract expressionism continues to dominate the Los Angeles art scene, numerous artists have also decided to tread the path of a form of minimalism in which light is an inseparable part of their practice. Just like Turrell, Flavin, Morris and Irwin, a new generation of artists have, after their own fashion, adopted the principles of simplicity by using contemporary materials that provide the opportunity for experiences in which light and colour are juxtaposed and combine to elevate our perspective of their work.
Brian Wills, a young, Los Angeles-based artist whose first solo show in Paris will be presented at Praz Delavallade, has completely taken on board this ideology of the relationship between the space and the spectator. Adopting Mies van der Rohe’s famous motto “less is more”, his work is characterised by simple, smooth, pared-down geometric shapes that lend themselves to a physical form of appreciation.
Each work is a long-term endeavour that leads to a level of sophistication which reveals Brian Wills’ craftsmanship, but in which the artist’s hand seems almost to have been replaced by an industrial mechanism. Of course, that is not the case: Brian Wills ingeniously uses nylon threads and iridescent or gloss paint in order to arrive at works with perfect lines, both simple and complex, but only the slightest imperfections can be discerned on the dermis the gloss paint surface of his works onto which the threads are fixed.
Brian Wills’ art adopts a meticulous approach that is illustrated by the painted and varnished wooden panels that are criss-crossed by spoke-like motifs of coloured threads. These threads, which either accept or reject light, form a mosaic of attraction and repulsion: a satin-finished exterior and a bright and shiny interior where the colours are gradually revealed as the viewer moved forwards or backwards. Brian Wills is fond of this artifice, this fiction that means his art works change continually, allowing him to explore line and colour, depth and movement. They literally vibrate, defying space and light and obliging the viewer to establish a physically intimate contact with the canvas in a controlled chaos that favours a perpetual, radical and dramatic aesthetic effect.
Brian Wills (born 1970 in Lexington, KY) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. After studying Law in Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, he started art studies at Denison University, Granville, OH. His works are present in many collections worldwide.