Reflections, James Francis Gill
From July 29 to August 16, 2020, an exhibition of works by James Francis Gill was curated by Premium Modern Art at Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien under the title "Reflections". The exhibition featured over 40 works by James Francis Gill. The unique pieces exhibited in Vienna, mostly new works directly from James Francis Gill's studio, are thematically a series of paintings on the theme of Women in Cars, works that in their pictorial message are linked to his early work from the early 1960s. These were influenced by photographs printed in magazines, representing and reflecting the spirit of these times. These unique pieces, such as THE POET ESCAPES, MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT, SHADOWS IN THE CANYON, SHADES OF NIGHT, or even SATIN LIGHT show the person in the foreground, the motive of the car fades into the background. The American road cruisers are staffage, strongly cut, shown reduced. They serve as attributes and framing of the depicted persons, the light and the environment are reflected in the paint and chrome of the cars. In his paintings Gill reflects the spirit of the times, individual image themes, such as the Women in Cars occupy him for decades.
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In 2016 he takes up this topic again, but he also adapts it to the respective time: the picture protagonists change, as do the fashions and the colors of the cars. Gill captures the moment when the women sits in the car, capturing moods and giving the image a timeless universality. In his later work, the focus is clearly on iconic pictorial statements and perceptions. But Gill also creates surreal-looking pictorial compositions, sporadic abstract ones, and political and socially critical works. These give Gill's work a depth that goes beyond that of the Pop Art icons, an attitude that can also be found in his late work. It's worth looking at the details here.
Together with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, Gill is considered the founding father of Pop Art. His paintings have current references, which he takes up as an idea and reinterprets through the painted implementation. James Francis Gill is fascinated by the abstract color field painting of the late 1950s, this influences him, as far as his color scheme is concerned, lasting. His art appears seductive and glamorous, Pop Art with substance and depth, yet never distant, but direct and immediate, the actual motive is the focus, reflects its time of origin and refers to the lifestyle. The works are a synthesis of the iconic representation of the person and abstract elements in the internal drawing. They are timeless images of exuberant color intensity, the works prove to be reflections of his own life world.