Willis comments: "To me, painting is an existentialist act. It’s something we do that comes from the fact that we exist, that we have countless experiences that make up our lives. This is true for cave paintings or even for simple hand prints made in such a way that the maker knew they had some kind of meaning, as if to say, 'I’ve been here, and I’m showing you my desire to communicate, to share my experiences with you.' I’m not sure what makes a person respond to a painting and why so few people really do—maybe that’s why I’m a painter. I’m trying to understand visual language, how we communicate things that we can’t necessarily verbalize, feelings or states where we universally meet, places we can all share. I try to reach this in my painting."
Greenwald writes that despite "superficial similarities, the works on display reflect the strikingly different temperaments and intentions of two ambitious abstract artists... Willis’ work comes out of a belief that 'painting is mystical, even magical,' whereas Held’s paintings, enormous objects influenced by Minimalism’s principle of Gestalt and objecthood, have been willed into existence. Gallery visitors have a chance to see where their allegiance lies."
Panero writes that Willis' "abstractions are a blend of geometry and intuition. For his latest series, he pares down his forms and used strong color contrasts to energize the tension between figure and ground... Thornton is one of Soho's artist pioneers. He and his family moved into the loft where he lives and works in the 1970s. Over the past decade, his work has attracted a new range of interest. "
An exhibition of new work by Thornton Willis will be on view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York from March 14 - April 13, 2013.
James Kalm records the exhibition Thornton Willis at Elizabeth Harris Gallery through April 23, 2011. "Accomplished with the artist's masterful brushwork, and an intense palette, these works begin a new direction of painterly investigation." The video begins with a walk-through of the show and includes an interview with Willis that starts at about 6:08.
Maureen Mullarkey reviews an exhibition of new paintings by Thornton Willis at Elizabeth Harris Gallery. Mullarkey revokes the grid as a modernist invention rededicating it to its "ancient" roots in "town planning." She calls Willis' exhibition "a vivid, if unpremeditated, evocation of the concerns of Russian Supremacism and its parallel movement, Constructivism. Both currents were based on geometrics; both were tethered to architecture no less than to painting."
[VIDEO] Painter Thonton Willis in his studio. Willis speaks about his work, in particular his process of searching through painting, and the surprising results that can occur when a painting is pushed beyond initial solutions.
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.