Brian Willmont Explores What Underlies Beauty at Albany Museum of Art Exhibition

Staff Report

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

There is precision beauty in the acrylic airbrush paintings of Brooklyn, N.Y., artist Brian Willmont. Below the colorful surface, however, are critical questions about the pursuit of the ideal.

Works by Brian Willmont is on exhibition in the East Gallery of the Albany Museum of Art through Oct 24, 2020. The AMA has free admission. The museum is open 10 am-5 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and has extended hours into the evening on Thursdays, when it is open 10 am-7 pm. 

AMA Guest Curator Didi Dunphy describes Willmont’s exhibition as “a perfectly lush show for a hot Southern summer.” 

“Slick and saturated with gorgeous beauty, Brian Willmont’s works combine the technique of airbrush painting and an up-close look at a psychedelic nature,” Dunphy said. “They are all consuming, including a full wall frieze of patterned wallpaper, explosions of color and sharp edges are softened with oversized floras and butterflies.”

Willmont has said he explores the elusiveness of perfection with his work.

“I’m interested in the aesthetics of technology analyzed through the lens of desire and despair,” Willmont said. “The inundation of smartphones and various screens industrializes the human mind and brings about a new psychedelic storm of images and information both alluring and repulsive. As a result, our highest technological advances are intertwined with our lowest animal instincts.

“My paintings are made with an airbrush, a tool that removes the directness of the hand and creates a slick, smooth finish with a hyper real quality. Saturated and idealized, the subjects of my work embody a decorative beauty with an underlying cynicism. On the surface, my works embrace sleek perfection but are decidedly handmade, which begs the question: are we pursuing unrealistic standards or bold ideals?” 

Dunphy noted that the Brooklyn artist and curator has had numerous solo exhibitions in New York and beyond. In addition to his art practice, Willmont runs Greenpoint Terminal Gallery in Brooklyn. 

A native of Boston, Willmont earned his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and graduated with High Distinction. He has had solo exhibitions at VICTORI + MO (N.Y.), Guerrero Gallery (Calif.), Driscoll Babcock (N.Y.), Field Projects (N.Y.), LaMontagne Gallery (Mass.) and others.

Willmont’s work also has been included in group exhibitions at Asya Geisberg (N.Y.), Andrew Edlin (N.Y.), Spring Break Art Show (N.Y.), Allouche Gallery (N.Y.), The Hole (N.Y.), Mrs. Gallery (N.Y.), Steinsland Berliner (N.Y.), County Gallery (Fla.), Spring Break (N.Y.), Frieze (U.K.), and many others.

In addition to Works by Brian Willmont, the AMA currently has the exhibitions JUAN LOGAN: creating & collecting, featuring work by North Carolina artist Juan Logan as well as work he has collected, in the Haley Gallery, and Viberations of Pasaquan, featuring works by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Art Professor Eddie Dominguez, North Carolina artist Martha Clippinger and Eddie Owens Martin (St. EOM) of Pasaquan. 


JUAN LOGAN: creating & collecting is in the Haley Gallery July 9-Oct 24, 2020.

Works by Brian Willmont is in the East Gallery July 9-Oct 24, 2020.

Viberations from Pasaquan is in the West Gallery July 9-Oct 24, 2020.