William Copley's work is a light-hearted rebuke to those who would deprive the human race of pleasure: priests, moralists and prudes alike. The world he unveils is a paradise of sensual delight, populated by nymph and satyrs, where lust reigns triumphant. The idyll of the Garden of Eden is in full swing, as if Eve and the serpent had been forgotten. Immersed in sensual gratification, his blithe lovers are immune to practical concerns: the only conflict in Copley's world is the war between the sexes.
This exhibition features paintings and drawings of a charming, cartoon-like style influenced by Surrealism and French decorative patterning; as if the sly spirit of Duchamp or Magritte had been cross-pollinated with the innocence of a Rousseau. Copley's influence can be seen in a younger generation of artists such as John Currin, Carroll Dunham, Martin Kippenberger, and John Wesley.
William Copley was born in 1919. A largely self-taught painter, he developed a vocabulary of images in the 1940's that he kept throughout. He aligned himself early on with the Surrealists, whom he greatly admired. His life was guided by their precepts, which Copley credited with freeing him from the bonds of Puritanism. Copley died in 1996.
This is William Copley's 6th show at Nolan/Eckman.