Last week, PARISTEXASLA debuted Interior/Exterior, the first solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Darryl Westly. Inspired by internet culture and ever-shifting ‘ways of seeing,’ Westly’s hyperrealistic oil on canvas works meditate on the newest lens through which representation and identity are presented.
Disrupted space, disjointed landscapes, and pixelated environments inform Westly’s unique painting style as he examines culture and ethnicity as seen through our hand-held screens. Using a signature layered aesthetic, he melds the mental and the physical, historical elements and present-day tropes, reality and performance of the self; all boundaries become blurred.
Up close, his large-scale paintings appear to be an abstraction of colorful liquescent shapes. Upon closer examination, the forms assemble into recognizable moments in history, absorbed into contemporary scenes of idealistic “pics” referencing selfie and FOMO culture. As the line between reality and fiction becomes thinner, Westly wants us to embrace the mess and grow to love and understand a newfound ambivalence.
In his Odalisque paintings, beautiful women cuddle Hello Kitty plush toys in part art-historical reference, part curated post. In other scenes, a family-friendly patio table is set before a porn-site pop-up window and a Greco-Roman muse teeters before a Ricci-esque African chambermaid, both floating in timeless and jumbled pixelated space. Chandeliers and flowers appear as signifiers of false opulence while hints of blue sky and greenery attempt to break through the internet takeover, reminding that there is a world beyond the screen.
“Westly’s work alludes to a mental space, most likely on a screen reflecting back at you, which compounds into a physical space, such as a list of handwritten hashtags or an intimate selfie snapped in some exotic bathroom beyond. That place between one’s mind and body is the vortex of the show.” –Hilde Lynn Helphenstein, Director, PARISTEXASLA
Darryl Westly’s Interior/Exterior is on view through December 21, 2019.