Wall fragments, drawings, and photo-montage
Curated by James Cavello
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC presented a solo exhibition of artwork by New York artist, Will Insley (1929-2011). ONECITY, envisioned by Insley is a 675 mile square architectural labyrinth of mythology buried in the central North American plains. It is designed as an imaginary city to house 400 million people of the time, considered the entire population of the United States. During the era of ONECITY the outer rim of the country is uninhabitable, possibly due to environmental devastation.
The drawings on exhibit represent architectural renderings of abstract buildings that surround ONECITY as vacant ruins to be abandoned after they are built. Insley created over 40 drawings of abstract buildings, originally shown in his exhibition at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NYC in 1984. Insley’s extensive architectural design contained more than 14,000 buildings on the outskirts, with each unit two and half miles wide, rendered through drawings and sculptures photographed in the landscape and turned into photo-montages.
In Insley’s view, who developed a complete sociopolitical structure for the community, ONECITY has a daily democratic voting system to address its various matters, with no designated leader to direct the community affairs. Rather than following an upward-mobile religious hierarchy, the citizens honor the horizon separating the earthly from the celestial as a holy, sacred expanse. In the center of ONECITY lies the Opaque library, considered to be "the seed and soul" of the city, due to its contents of publicly withheld secrets and confidential information. The Ninth Arena is reserved for criminals whose punishment is to eliminate one another in "Theaters of Death."
Insley's "Wall Fragments", large scale acrylic on masonite paintings, are seen by the artist as remnants of ONECITY's walls. He asserts "if there are wall fragments, there must be buildings; if buildings, a city, if a city, a civilization, if a civilization, a religion; -- all the ingredients to form a mythological context." Through this contextual frame, Insley builds an abstract civilization shaped by logic, dimension and spatial theories along with the complex relations of citizens existing in a futuristic society, to create a geometrically-based metropolitan environment.
Diane Waldman, Deputy Director, Guggenheim Museum, 1984 states about Insley and ONECITY: "By means of his geometric imagery [Insley] explores the potential of an architecture unlimited by the restrictions of reality; perhaps paradoxically, through the cool and rational appearance of his art he elaborates the myth of a dark and mysterious civilization outside of normal time".
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC owns and manages the Estate of Will Insley.
All images copyright Will Insley.