The Drawers - Billy Copley   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Highly Recommended, Jan 11 - Feb 20, 2007

With an orientation to the page and Pop, the imagery in Billy Copley's recent works on paper propel the precepts of the pop artists into fast-forward and this festinating results in a giddily perplexing narrative. Like the wackiness of Saturday morning cartoons or the shifting roles of paper dolls as they don their paper disguises, each piece is full of adventurous changes.

There is a lot going on within the four borders of the page. Copley melds the abstract urge with the disciplined habits of an obsessively precise aesthetic. With an unabashed freedom to borrow from kitsch and sentimental rag barrels, he snips, pastes, prints, rubs and paints his way into a new corner, a place of no return for there are so many layers of visuals that the process of making or looking back to the beginning is hard to determine. He accomplishes the same novelty within his palette with an evident demonstration of ability, for technically, these are sophisticated performances of artistry. Relishing creativity, there is a lip-smacking tastiness in the riot of things, recognized and strange, within the layered compositions. Characters are balanced in a clown's ring of juggling balls. These appear to be happy works, but they are also disquieting for they are insistent in their screaming need for attention much like the play of children.

The works are mature, however loud they scream, power pieces with a lot of visual presence. Copley extracts a varied beauty from the world of tacky objects as he juxtaposes many styles from hard edge to the mottled handling of surfaces; a wealth of visual treatments that carry braggadocio as if they were developed from a strategy to wow the viewer who in turn loves to be wowed. With psychedelic, hallucinogenic perspectives, the foregrounds recede as backgrounds approach and the relationships between visual spaces are queerly developed so that elements fold into each other's proximity.

Billy Copley seems to be pushing all of the buttons at once and taking us on a ride that brings forth a queasy, yet thrilled, jubilation. For those who get their kicks out of art, it's a rush better than a carnival ride.

Copyright 2007,  Headbones Gallery