Dominique Nahas
Catalog Essay
"Bill Weiss, Small Paintings, 1998"
M-13 Howard Scott Gallery, NY, NY

Bill Weiss's new paintings, with their ramshackle physicality strike us with their sense of urgent immediacy; they are forceful objects in spite of their delicacy of touch, their intimate scale, their painstakingly diversified surfaces which remain resolutely abstract while the use of pink and flesh tonalities suggest fleeting figural impulses. These paintings work on you slowly as the wind, the sea, and the trees; they become part of you if you give them time.

Consider Weiss's paintings as visual Haikus. This will give you the right approach: clear, formally precise, even contrived yet seemingly effortless and without guile. The intimately scaled paintings seem to want nothing from us, conveying the joy of being in the present, of capturing the lightness of the momentary in all its sublimity. What appears intensely authentic is the element of litheness that is twinned with an embedded mysteriousness. This combination gives each painting its charged aspect.

Weiss's pictorial strategy is to use color, line, and form anecdotally as actors that perform an enlivening function that occasionally suggests events and themes. There is a freshness to Weiss's overall efforts which is heralded by a touch of visual jocularity. This light humor arises out of a complex of associations irradiate all the paintings in various degrees.

To experience Bill Weiss's paintings, where freedom and intense self-absorption commingle, is to be confronted, then, with works filled with vibrant contradictions. Weiss's paintings have a vitality that stems from the artist's open-ended working process, his fresh compositions, the colors and textures that appear simultaneously unpremeditated yet controlled. Purported naïveté and refinement are ratcheted up to a high pitch. The results are small miracles filled with musically and freshness.