New York

William Willis

Howard Scott Gallery

The image that immediately caught my eye in William Willis’s show was a painting in a near-grisaille palette. Subtle and small—only eight and a half by nine and a half inches—it shows a group of overlapping planes, generally rectangular but with careful rhymes of V shapes and diagonals. Off to the left, a skein of rounded forms runs over the edge of the canvas, making the side of the stretcher bar into a weblike frame. A triangular projection, a slight curve, and an area of volumetric shading turn one of the foremost rectangles into a pitcher, which in turn pushes other forms into implying tumblers and perhaps a carafe—a still life. Looking at this painting, my first thought was of Cubism and the compositional harmonies of, say, Juan Gris. But those works have a lively clarity of color that Willis avoids. Still Life with Yoni-Lingam, 1996–2000 (gee but this tiny image took time to make),

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