WILLIAM LEWIS HOUSE CONTENTS GROUNDS
HOUSE CONTENTS GROUNDS
FEBRUARY 13 – APRIL 30
OPENING FEBRUARY 13, 4-8 PM
The “peculiar miracle” of painting (as Philip Guston once described it) is that pushing colored dirt around a flat surface can, in all its crude bluntness or sumptuous finesse, restore the mundane physical world to us anew. In its uncanny, mysterious alchemy, painting arrests our attention, asking us to attend to the familiar appearance of things seen but edging toward invisibility in plain sight, calling upon the viewer to stop and look, to be blindsided by a sudden shock of recognition. In this recent series entitled House Contents Grounds I have sought to recapture a lost time and place. This arose from the unlikely rediscovery, in a box of junk, of a twenty five year old video tape made on a visit to my ancestral home in Alabama. My grandmother had scrawled upon it “Bill made this” and put it in my suitcase. Because I thought of it then as something made out of curiosity at how a camcorder worked, it was tucked away and forgotten about it. Viewing the imagery again felt like a revelation: something akin to Proust’s Marcel tasting the madeleine near the opening of Swann’s Way. Though the content was mundane, the effect on me was profound, and I set out to place myself once again in that long ago context – through the act of painting.
No matter how outwardly absurd, damaged, humdrum, distant or forlorn, the sheer fathomless variety of the world demands we be patient witnesses, gleaners of its unsung splendors.