William Betts

The artist who will  start off the New Year is William Betts. Bravely going where no painter has gone before. Willaim Betts is stretching the boundaries of painting by employing mechanical means of rendering images

“After my time in the software industry, I was in a different place as an artist, I had to incorporate technology somehow to be true to myself.”

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The acclaimed arts magazine New American Paintings has awarded its national juried Annual Prize to William Betts, the noted Houston painter and recent interim director of DiverseWorks art space.

William Betts has has taken the craft of painting into the terrain of 21st-century industrial practice, he uses a series of mechanized processes that bring into question the very role of the artist in producing painted canvases.

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The scenes in his landscape works are instantly recognizable fragments of the everyday. His scenes of highway traffic, airport runways and faceless motel rooms are familiar yet vaguely unwelcoming, easily discernible yet blurred and distorted, leaving one with a feeling of disquiet, of being an eavesdropper and have a voyeuristic quality.

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The images are taken from digital surveillance or television news briefs. Each of the images is transposed directly onto canvas by the artist’s finely-tune studio machinery which he operates with a suite of custom-made digital software. Thousands upon thousands of pixels are converted into delicate drops of acrylic paint and precisely positioned onto a blank canvas.

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In recent years, he has developed a process in which he drills thousands of shallow holes into the back of a mirrored Plexiglas panel. Each small void is manually filled with paint to create a pixilated interpretation of a photographic source. All of these images were done by this process.

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“In some respects, that traditional intimacy between the artist, canvas and the paint is totally corrupted. As a painter today, I like to see how far I can get from those traditions and forms.”  

It is a testament to the creativity of William Betts and his determination to marry technology and painting that we have the privilege of being able to view such innovative work. This is Pointillism in the 21st Century.

Extra information via Culture Map Houston

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