Located in Midtown Manhattan between Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center, 1140 Avenue of the Americas is a prestigious office building with corporate tenants of numerous industries. The inviting lobby is a light, airy space featuring off-white marble walls and floor with unique angular columns that reach from the left wall to continue onto the ceiling. The wall behind the security desk and adjacent elevator bank are coated in undulating silver metal grating.
The 15.5′ x 18′ security desk wall and a tall, narrow partition at the end of the elevator bank serve as an attractive, modern backdrop perfect for large, colorful art pieces. Additionally, the lobby benefits from both excellent natural light and thoughtful electric lighting that coincidentally highlights the art placement locations, making this particular location a special joy to curate.
Art Assets suggested vibrant works by several artists, and ultimately Art Assets and the client selected Brooklyn-based painter Chris Willcox.
Willcox’s paintings are partially informed by his neuroscientific background, and in particular his study of the brain’s visual processing system. In an interview with aandbnyc.com, he explained: “Our brains are constantly guessing at what we’re looking at…What’s so interesting about abstraction, and why it can be so difficult, is that it subverts all of these hardwired processes. The brain is guessing and guessing about what the image is, but there is no image to guess at. I think, through this rupture of normal visual experience, abstraction can take us somewhere we haven’t been before, away from the thing that is seen and toward, I hope, something more primary.”
Willcox’s large-scale works juxtapose planned and accidental painting strategies and exploit both traditional and novel materials like oil paint and Plexiglas. In the pair of paintings presented here, Willcox employs a technique of airbrushing a smooth, vibrant gradient across the entire canvas, then spontaneously dragging and pulling liquid paint across it, resulting in unexpected gestures and smears that capture the viewer’s eye.
Born in 1988, Chris Willcox was raised in and around Washington, DC. He attended Washington University in St. Louis and the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, where he studied philosophy and fine art.
From 2011 to 2013, Willcox worked in the laboratory of Nobel laureate and renowned neuroscientist Eric Kandel, where he contributed to researching, editing, and illustrating of The Age of Insight, a bestselling book by Dr. Kandel that investigates the link between visual art, mind, and brain. Following its publication, Willcox went on to produce The Charlie Rose Brain Series, a monthly televised special hosted by Dr. Kandel and Charlie Rose.
Willcox lives and works in New York City, and regularly displays his work in galleries throughout New York, the East Coast, and abroad. He has shown his work at the Smithsonian Institution, The Gabarron Foundation, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and elsewhere.