A Colorful Character

Willy Heeks is an old Rhode Island surfer dude. He's also a great painter who says his abstracts are sometimes inspired by the Atlantic Ocean's (meager) curls. Strangely, his work reminds us of Raymond Saunders' urban-Pittsburgh–inspired abstract paintings more than anything ocean-related. Heeks' stuff at his solo show “Recent Work” has the feel of a tube of goo squeezed hard and exploded — the look of messy genius. Inside the smears and drips is classic (read: highly educated) abstraction, with its secret delights and tightly rendered details. Deep layering is Heeks' signature move (he's also known for a brilliant palette), but we love the dark line figures that overlay his broader, lighter strokes. If he comes out here for the show, we hope he gets inspired at Steamer Lane, or at least Ocean Beach.
July 9-Aug. 16, 2008

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