5.5.08

THORNTON WILLIS

Thornton Willis, Countercluster, 2007, 24" x 18", oil on canvas

Just got a nice note from Thornton Willis, one of my favorite painters. I’ve had one of his announcement images on my studio wall for a long time, and I see his work every chance I get. It is the real deal – pretense factor zero – as direct as it gets. Each painting is a record of a moment in his perpetual shaping process – intuitively building spacial relationships out of clusters of triangular shapes. The color interactions are simple but intense, and the frequent use of a dark outline suspends and separates the colors somewhat like stained glass. The paint is applied quickly with plenty of revision and overlap and other incidents making the surfaces tactile and alive. The effect Willis achieves, both within each painting and in the larger body of his recent work, is of a state of constant flux – toward and away, in and out, around and through – pure pictorial dynamics, infused with the breath of life.