Striking up creative conversations with keen eyes and a forward-thinking approach, Dallas native William Binnie (william-binnie.com) is blazing his own trail—no holds barred. With wit and a little whimsy, Binnie unveils his current exhibition, Murmur, a two-person presentation with Berlin-based artist Jeff Grant at Keijsers Koning gallery running through March 18.
Dallas native William Binnie splits his time between Williamstown, Mass., and New York City.
Tell us a bit more about your current gallery exhibition. Salutations. I’m showing some of my largest paintings to date, as well as a few very small paintings and works on paper. The paintings are mostly black acrylic ink stained in layers into raw canvas to construct the imagery.
Can you expand on your personal aesthetic? I’m the first to admit I’m not a ‘painter’s painter.’ My aesthetic is very much indebted to the history of film, photography and mass media, and I distill images from these. I’m fascinated by the construction of images and how they in turn construct meaning and identities, personal or collective. In recent years my work has grown increasingly concerned with the images that make up the mythos of nationalism in this country, and how they have galvanized, and naturalized, certain forms of power and sovereignty over this vast landscape. While my work might come off as ‘dark’ on the surface, I try to infuse this apparent bleakness with a genuine humanism, this despair with glimmers of hope. There is plenty of doom and gloom to stew over, but I try to find flickers of light in this darkness.
Binnie’s thought-provoking work ignites conversations that need to be had.
How do you believe your art has evolved during this time? I was in the middle of an artist residency at the Bemis Center in Omaha when the pandemic first began. I departed early to drive back to the Northeast, just as lockdowns were starting, to get back to my wife, who was pregnant with our first child, Paloma, who is now 1½ years old. I rolled up all of the paintings I had been working on and couldn’t bring myself to unpack them until just a few months ago. To see these works again was a bizarre experience since they felt like they were from another era. But they were still legible to me, just through a shifted lens. It felt cathartic and vital to me to return to work on them now. Several of those works are in the current show.
What are you most excited about in terms of the artist landscape? I do think I am most excited about where filmmaking will go in the future. We are really living in a new golden age for moving images, where things are being made that wouldn’t have had a home just a few years ago. Painting will always manage to reinvent itself one way or another, but I think we’re going to see filmmaking enter an entirely new experiential sphere.
Any projects you have in motion? I’m flirting with the idea of a children’s book that would involve several oil-on-panel paintings, as a sort of personal homage to Ul de Rico’s The Rainbow Goblins (1978) in style (a book that had a significant impact on me as a child). Maybe it’s being a new father, maybe it’s the solitude of the pandemic, or winter in New England, but I feel increasingly compelled by the visual lushness and flow of a children’s book and the sense of wonder they can evoke.
Photography by: COURTESY OF @KEIJSERS KONING; @COLIN CONCES