To mark its 10th anniversary, RARE is pleased to announce William Anskis’ first ever solo exhibition of paintings entitled THRONES. These glossy, highly saturated mixed media works on aluminum panel depict abstracted architectural spaces reminiscent of sci-fi cinema, cartoons, and early video game technology. Like paused video screens that draw in the viewer’s mesmerized gaze, these paintings seem frozen in a moment of flux, creating a sense of uncertainty of being neither here nor there.
Among the six works on exhibit, some are minimally composed while others are in a fragmented state as they seem to be trying to pull themselves together into singular structures. Anskis’ quasi-abstracted expressionist layering of paint combines with (and counterbalances) underlying planes of simple geometric shapes and lines to create vivid, Technicolor palettes within illusions of deconstructed spaces, patterns, and repetitions. The visual tension engendered by the nonsensical spatial relationships and the competing surface qualities, colors, and shapes creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, while the thick application of paint counteracts the illusion of space the artist has created. The paintings signify the virtual space of digitization while simultaneously mimicking the medium to which they allude. . . . Sharing the same scale and formal motifs, the two largest works in the show (Creep (Fading) and Creep (In Bloom), both 2007) depict the deconstructed architecture of a Storm Trooper mask from the sci-fi classic Star Wars. Anskis was drawn to the fictional characters’ aggressive nature as well as the mask’s relationship to modernist geometric abstraction. Using the mask as a starting point, he reduces it to its simplest form so that the paintings become symbols, or spaces, of power and aggression. He intentionally uses the large scale of the works to reinforce this feeling so that they tower over viewers like intimidators or bullies. Although the two paintings structurally are exact clones of each other, they exhibit disparate personalities. Creep (In Bloom) appears to be at the height of its powers while its counterpart, Creep (Fading), seems to be depleted of its powers as it disappears into the aluminum panel.
Anskis received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 and his MFA from Goldsmiths College in 2006. In 2007, he participated in a group exhibition at Gallery Michael Janssen in Cologne, Germany.