William Betts, US54 and Ellerthorpe, El Paso, Texas, October 12, 2007 10:54 am, 2007, acrylic on canvas 54 x 72 inches
Please join us for the opening reception for William Betts – FIELD OF VISION this Friday evening, May 16th 6-9pm with the artist in attendance.
The Jennifer Kostuik Gallery is pleased to announce Field of Vision, the gallery's second solo exhibition of new paintings by William Betts.
Living in a world where we are constantly watched from satellites, airplanes and stationary video cameras on our roads and in our cities, Betts' latest paintings address a contemporary world in which surveillance is widely used as both a deterrent and for social control. Inspired by the writings of Jeremy Bentham on the Panopticon and Michel Foucault in his work Discipline & Punish, he explores the sociological and philosophical implications of video surveillance in contemporary society. "I am interested in how far removed I can get from the subject and the painting itself and still make paintings" says Betts, "today we have so many layers between the individual and direct experience, it fundamentally changes how we see the world".
Betts plays with dimension and scale- he continues to push our sense of perception through his manipulation of resolution. In the late 1800's, Georges Seurat's observations of public scenes were large scale paintings covered in a system of vertical and horizontal coordinates executed with tiny dots of brilliant color. Betts pushes the self-contained rectilinear field to a new technological level by imposing the grid and then creating and using a computer controlled linear motion technology and a proprietary software system to precisely apply thousands of drips of paint. Further, the graininess of low quality video and the "slice of life" subject matter of the Pointillism master are married, refocusing Seurat's intent into a new view of containment both visually and within contemporary social and moral arenas presently surrounding video monitoring and recording by individuals, corporations and government.
Betts works on several different projects concurrently, moving back and forth between series and ideas. It is an ongoing exploration of the intersection of the digital realm and the traditional craft of painting, Betts uses various technologies, strategies, and processes to create his work. Born and raised in New York City, Betts graduated from Arizona State University in 1991 with high honors with a B.A. in Studio Art and a minor in philosophy. Between 1991 and 2002 he held various executive positions in the technology field. Before leaving the business world to pursue his painting full time in 2002, he was a senior executive responsible for the European operations of an international application software company. Betts is currently based in Houston, Texas.
Betts was recently awarded Best in Show at the Biennial Southwest at the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico by Neal Benezra, the Director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In addition, Recently Betts was awarded first place in the Assistance League Celebrates Texas Art 2008 exhibition juried by Kevin Saladino from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In addition, work from this series is included in the upcoming 2008 Houston Area Show at the Blaffer Gallery curated by Claudia Schmukli as well as in New American Talent 23 at the Arthouse Texas in Austin.
For more information, please contact the gallery. Show continues until June 8
Article on Moire Series
William Betts: Interference Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, TX
Betts has adapted existing CNC (computer numerically controlled) technology to create paintings by layering lines. He determines the angle, the spacing and the width of each set of lines, printing them in specially mixed paint, then responds to each set of colored lines with another, slowly building up the designs. He calls the process "neurotic and anal yet improvisational." It results in spectacular patterns of grids and v's that shimmer like "moire paintings." As you look around the gallery, each painting has an optical hum, and some of the color and pattern choices, like the turquoise-y blues and greens of M-0023(2006), are gorgeous. Betts is showing eight paintings in the gallery, each 45 inches by 45 inches. In the future, it would be interesting to see him experiment with a larger scale or combine multiple canvases. It would also be intriguing to see his paintings hung alongside those of Houston/New York artist Susie Rosmarin, who has been doing similar work for quite a while, but laboriously taping and painting her lines by hand. I'd like to see how handmade and machine-made play out side by side.
The new paintings really showcase Bett's deft sense of color and design, as well as his ability to bend.
By Kelly Klaasmeyer, Houston Press Newspaper, April 19, 2007