PRINT April 2019


William T. Wiley, Modern Sculpture with Weakness, 1968, wood, Plexiglas, metal, rope, 17 × 80 × 17".

IT’S 1970 and William T. Wiley, up in Marin County, California, underneath a canopy of trees by a spindly creek, writes to H. C. Westermann:

I’ve been working and bumming around—spooking myself. Me and the dog and the Iguana. I guess I’ll walk down to the post office mail this letter and then out to the studio and see if there are any miracles to wrestle with. Or maybe I’ll just hang around the stage door and congratulate the winners. Nothing to lose.1 

William T. Wiley, Painter Baffles and Excess in California, 1969, ink, pencil, felt-tip pen, and watercolor on paper, 28 1⁄4 × 20 1⁄4".

Wiley was referring to his own work space, his theater of creation. Painter Baffles and Excess in California, 1969, is one of his numerous watercolors from the late 1960s, all of them depicting the stage, the miracles, and some winners. In a deceptively illustrative mode, these images form an artistic autobiography. In Painter Baffles, Wiley’s studio is overrun by objects and ideas, many of which were already, or would

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