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Gallery Artist: Way O'Malley

artist's statement (written by Dennis O'Malley)

The paintings of Way Wilkie O'Malley evoke a visual space somewhere between abstract expressionism and contemporary graffiti and comics.  What initially might appear to be the happenstance of loosely applied gestures, spatters and drips is actually a very consciously constructed design. He maximizes the tension, or the question, of the traditional (or instinctive ) figure / ground relationship to the point where the retinal and the actual resonate in an eerie, yet playful, conspiracy.

As such they are 'realistic' representations of themselves. A sort of illustration of the trope of 'painterly abstraction;' where each brushstroke is much more of a 'character' in pictorial space than an expressionist 'mark' or 'gesture' across a surface. The graphic edge or line which is often adjoining the strokes of paint or the color fields creates this odd sensation of a visual or mental zone which is 'flat' and 'depicted' and 'visionary' simultaneously.  

Way attended the University of Rhode Island with a focus in photography.  Inspired by the freewheeling spirit of the Providence art and music scene, he began his practice of abstract painting here in earnest in the late 1990s.   Way has been involved in music and art heavily over the last decade- simultaneously absorbing and being informed by as much cultural material as possible, yet trying filter these influences away from their oftentimes overly codified sources.  Choosing to forge his own path, he creates a visual language of undeniable beauty paired with enigmatic or elusive content.  

Way is currently based in Atlanta, GA.