October 11 to January 5, 2014
Will Gill. Figure with Red Pants. 2013. Mixed Media on Panel.
Will Gill is from St John’s Newfoundland and well-known for a diverse art practice that includes painting, sculpture and video work. Bloodredlife, the title of this exhibition, is a smash of words expressing the spirit of his mixed media paintings – something raw, vivid and compressed. The tangle of lines, gestures and forms woven into these images are visceral and expressive in nature, but many of them can be unwoven to reveal some form of narrative. The subject matter Gill paints is often disturbing: interrogations, accidents and beheadings among them. Many of these subjects are drawn from the web of media that surround us – Internet, TV and radio, for example. Others still are drawn from Gill’s experience and that of those to whom he is close.
Gill is critical of pervasive representations of violence in our society. For him, it is ironic that in a world that is so ‘connected’ we should be so disconnected from the misfortune, humanity and suffering of others. He uses his artwork to explore this condition, at times exaggerating his subject matter to the point of absurdity and using a colour palette that is bright and cheerful and thus at odds with his subject. His strategy of exaggeration, and use of candy apple reds, bubble gum pinks, cotton candy blues and similar colours embody the artist’s acerbic commentary. They reflect his own ‘sugar-coating’ of these moments, in order to draw parallels to the senationalisation of violence so easily found in today’s media.
Bloodredlife has an urgency, an exuberant viscerality that, like the colours he liberally employs, builds a body of work that is immediately pleasing and enticing to explore. As we savour and chew on his powerful images, extracting one element from another, it becomes very clear that at the centre of this eye candy, Will Gill has offered us a bitter observation to swallow.
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