chicago

William T. Wiley

Frumkin & Struve Gallery

With his well-known persona—the faux naïf from the lotusland of Marin County—and his relentlessly esoteric references, William Wiley seems like a spiritualist who doesn’t want to take himself too seriously. He frequently masks his reverence with a veneer of wackiness in order to remain one of the northern-California good-time boys—along with Robert Hudson, Richard Shaw, Robert Arneson, and Roy DeForest—who make crazy constructions. He obscures his metaphysical concerns by cramming the canvas or paper surface with his signature febrile charcoal line which describes a personal repertoire of symbols, objects, and locales, interspersed with barely decipherable statements in punning, ad hoc spelling.

The nature of these signs and phrases suggests a very circumspect attitude, presenting the admirable role model of the artist as a reflective creator—reflective in the sense of both being introspective

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