July 09, 2015 at Driscoll Babcock Galleries in New York.
July 9 – August 14, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 9, 6-8PM
Driscoll Babcock Galleries presents Vanitas, a solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Brian Willmont. Willmont’s current work offers a contemporary take on the tradition of symbolic vanitas still life painting, which throughout art history has functioned as a reminder of the passage of time and the transience of earthly life. Employing symbols that suggest fragile, fleeting states—flickering flames, melting candles, urns, roses, water droplets, and spider webs—Willmont creates uncanny still lifes whose seductive rendering and pastel palette belie their darker motifs.
Willmont’s unique visual language combines tromp l’oeil effects, abstraction and iconic symbolism, referencing the vernacular pop aesthetics of commercial airbrush techniques. Illusions of space collapse as Willmont’s symbols overlap and float against humming, pulsating backdrops, emphasizing the flatness of his picture plane. In this way, the artist also looks to the ubiquity of digital screens in contemporary visual culture and how images are experienced through the sleek, flat interface of our devices, bringing together the commercial and the fine art, the historical and the contemporary, in one endless scroll. Willmont’s work similarly blends the symbolic, the decorative and the abstract like successive screens, ultimately commenting on the history and nature of pictorial representation itself.