In his artist statement for his new show Gates and Ways, Michael Wille makes it clear that his abstract paintings are created with the intent of slowing down the viewer. Each piece utilizes architectural remnants from cities Wille has visited, from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to the exotic destination of Cleveland. It is in trying to figure out what pieces represent which cities that a pattern emerges: Wille's color-field backgrounds and overlaid monochrome blocks could represent aerial views of each city. The straight rows and even blocks of this one must be Cleveland, while the mazy jumble of another is clearly KwaZulu-Natal. Or is it? Trying to unlock the abstraction of the individual pieces results in a closer examination and a longer look, denying the viewer the time-honored practice of skimming the paintings on the way to the bar. Gates and Ways opens with a free public reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary (2713 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-960-5322 or Gates and Ways remains on display through Saturday, April 24, and the gallery is open Thursday through Saturday.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: April 2. Continues through April 24, 2010

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