Sid Motion Gallery: Morgan Wills '12 Conversations' (until 17th September 2016)
Perhaps the first thing of note about this body of work is the highly digestible, aesthetically pleasing palettes used by the artist. Embracing block colour sees Wills' work venture towards pop art, but it would not be true to classify these paintings in such a way, as '12 Conversations', like much of contemporary art, sees influences and styles vary, showcasing a diverse practice rather than one which follows a single school of thought. As the first painting of the show, 'Putting My Foot in It' uses colloquial metaphor to entice the viewer, in addition to the somewhat banal imagery of a foot and a face. However it is the overlapping of the two features which enhances the painting as complex and truly compelling, as we can infer the artist's first nod to the oeuvre of Edvard Munch, with the sinister and ambiguous expression on the face of the figure.
It is clear that Wills' outlook is merging an almost charming aesthetic with darker undertones, and often deciphering these strata can take genuine focus on the work, which at a time of instant gratification, scrolling through timelines and swiping, is refreshing and exciting for the viewer. This intelligent way of incorporating Surrealist themes and ideas is more challenging than the initial visual impact would suggest, again incorporating simple and dark, multifaceted ideas concurrently. Recognisable artistic influences continue in 'Crouching Nude with Ropes', another painting using warm and bold hues to pique the viewer's interest. The soft curves of the blank figure channel not only the print work of Matisse, but intriguingly bears similarities to Rodin's iconic sculpture, 'The Thinker'. Omitting any specific facial or bodily features informs us that the figure is that of any or all in the human race, gesturing a humble and perhaps broken spirit through body language. Using body language as a further mode of expression shows again the various ways in which the artist is able to communicate his ideas through partial abstraction.