Thornton Willis: Interview

Thornton Willis, The Ceremony, 2013, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches (courtesy of
Thornton Willis, The Ceremony, 2013, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches (courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Harris Gallery)

Julie Karabenick interviews painter Thornton Willis.

Willis comments: "To me, painting is an existentialist act. It’s something we do that comes from the fact that we exist, that we have countless experiences that make up our lives. This is true for cave paintings or even for simple hand prints made in such a way that the maker knew they had some kind of meaning, as if to say, 'I’ve been here, and I’m showing you my desire to communicate, to share my experiences with you.' I’m not sure what makes a person respond to a painting and why so few people really do—maybe that’s why I’m a painter. I’m trying to understand visual language, how we communicate things that we can’t necessarily verbalize, feelings or states where we universally meet, places we can all share. I try to reach this in my painting."

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