I spent over an hour looking at Billy Hassell’s brightly colored and richly patterned paintings from nature. Then I went back another day. You would think I was thoroughly prepared to write my exhibition review for class, but I got too caught up in looking at the works to think up a bunch of collegiate words to say. You all know how I love vibrant color, and nature, and drawing attention to the things that catch my eye so that others can see them too. I would say that Billy Hassell’s work satisfies the nature lover in me pretty well. I like how how he ‘simplifies’ the repetitive tangle of nature with textile inspired patterns, some bold icons of nature are even painted directly on heavily textured brocade upholstery type fabric instead of canvas in his mixed media presentation. Follow this link to the artist’s web site: www.billyhassell.com.
Being kind of nearsighted, I am glad that he uses large canvases, something you can’t appreciate enough until you see the actual artwork filling a wall in front of you, though I found a pair of favorites that were only a few feet across (24×28″). When I go walking or canoeing with my dad he says, “look at that bird” and points meaningfully into the thicket across the way. When my eye catches onto his woodpecker or goldfinch, then it jumps out at me, bold and beautiful, in the same way as Billy Hassell’s paintings.
Honestly, none of the pictures I have seen online capture the textures in the real paintings, and how the painted edges of the painted reliefs really enhances the impression of backlighting, or the scale of the artworks. If you visit the Tyler Museum of Art to see what I mean, look my two favorites:
Just My Light Bulb
on the back inside wall with the painted reliefs.
Always try to see art in person, to which I usually add – especially sculptures and multisensory arts – but you will miss something if you don’t see Billy Hassell’s work in person too.