WILL INSLEY:
THE SECRET SHAPED PAINTINGS, 1950s-60s

VIEWING ROOM DATES:
Jul 15th - Aug 28th, 2021

Will Insley (1929-2011) was an American abstract artist who dedicated 50 years to creating paintings, drawings, writing, models and photomontages based on his investigation of a theoretical civilization and focus on its single metropolis, ONECITY. 

After graduating from Amherst College, Massachussets in 1951 with a thesis of Mies van der Rohe, Insley attended Harvard Graduate School of Design and was awarded his MA in architecture in 1955. From 1955-1957, Insley was drafted into the army, where he served utilizing his skill in architecture, which resulted in his decision not to be an architect. Insley instead chose to create art "thinking as an architect and yet acting as an artist."

Insley moved to New York in 1957, thereafter working as a part-time photo clerk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he catalogued photographs for the record card collection. Upon creating the documentation cards for shards of a broken Greek vase, Will realized each broken piece was from the unseen whole vase, which was from another time and another era. This was an epiphany regarding the value of each fragment, and became a formative experience that influenced his civilization theory in his work.

Concurrent to his time at the Metropolitan Museum, Will began creating what became known as the 'wall fragments,' paintings with elementary geometric forms in bright acrylics adhering to the conceptual framework of his greater project of ONECITY. 

This collection of rare structural models was a revelation in Insley's initial voluntary decision not to practice architecture, however were never exhibited during the artist's lifetime. 

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #02, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #00, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #01, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #10, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

"Will discovered that any information, no matter how incomplete, can assert itself as absolute totality in its visual and sensory reality. The archeological and mythological significance of the “fragment” was to become the cornerstone of the artist’s fertile and creative thought.  

The archeology of the past emerged in its abundant richness and the universal symbols were in turn soon to be blended, amalgamated or combined in the alchemy of the subterranean awareness as well as the logic of a new form of visual thought intent on seeking itself out.
"

- Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction, 1950-1970

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #17, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Structural Model #06, ca. early 1960s
acrylic, tempera on ragboard
Artwork Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm 

Framed Size: 19 x 19 inches | 48.3 x 48.3 cm

USD $20,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

"The universe of fragments opened up between 1961 and 1963 with a multitude of cutout forms, flat shapes with four elements symmetrically arranged around a central opening.  In some cases, illuminated by textured internal models, the volute-like cut suggests a cloverleaf pattern, with the mixed contour combining straight and curved segments, abstract thoughts of a wheel spinning in their controlled vertigo.

The already assimilated influence of the art of ancient civilizations still showed through, combined with knowledge of the art of Matisse, Picasso, and Miró."

- Claudine Humblet, The New American Abstraction, 1950-1970

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, No. 62-63.3, 1962-63
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 

Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, Untitled, circa 1961-63
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 

Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, No. 62-63.2, 1962-63
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 

Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, No. 61.4, 1961
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 
Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, Untitled, circa 1961-63
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 
Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

WILL INSLEY (1929-2011)
Wall Fragment Study, No. 61.3, 1961
photocollage on ragboard
Artwork Size: 5 x 5 inches | 12.7 x 12.7 cm 
Framed Size: 10 x 10 inches | 25.4 x 25.4 cm

USD $3,000*

*FRAMED PRICE

ABOUT WILL INSLEY

Will Insley (1929-2011) was an American abstract artist who dedicated 50 years to creating paintings, drawings, writing, models and photomontages based on his investigation of a theoretical civilization and focus on its single metropolis, ONECITY, a labyrinthine structure buried in the central North American plains. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana and a lifelong resident of New York City, Insley received his BFA in Architecture from Amherst College and his MFA in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Over his lifetime, Insley never utilized his architecture degree in the construction of functional buildings, and instead devoted his pursuit of art through abstract formalities and structural principles. The detailed process of thinking, writing, drawing, and visually communicating his concepts, provided a way for him to challenge the role of the artist during the Minimalist, Conceptual, and Earth Art movements of the 20th century.

Will Insley has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including a solo exhibition at Guggenheim Museum (1984) and Museum of Modern Art in New York City (1971), as well as inclusion in Documenta 5 (1972) and Documenta 6 (1977).

Will Insley’s artwork is collected by major institutions and private collectors across the world. His work is reflected in the collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art, Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and many others. The Estate of Will Insley is owned, represented, and managed exclusively by Westwood Gallery NYC.

Visit Will Insley's Artist Page