This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Enjoy this excerpt.
Still-life paintings by Angus Wilson convey to viewers the delightful impression that they’re experiencing the centuries-old genre in a new, contemporary way. Yes, the items depicted in his works are among those that painters have portrayed since at least the Middle Ages: flowers and fruit, plus objects they’re displayed in and around, such as vases, pitchers, bowls, tables, and tablecloths. But there the similarities end.
Conventional still-life works often render these objects in faithfully natural tones against dark or muted backgrounds. By contrast, an Angus painting (he goes by his first name alone) is as bold and vibrant as a stained-glass window in bright sunlight—and that effect is further heightened by the fact that each item is darkly outlined, an approach called cloisonnism that gained favor among post-Impressionists including Paul Gauguin. Meanwhile the colors themselves, though certainly based on nature, feel saturated and heightened to almost the point of hyperreality.
In addition, most of Angus’ works also contain a few bold horizontal or vertical lines that visually cut right through an object, the foreground, or the background, “refracting” the image, as the artist describes it, by slightly shifting the perspective. That shift, in turn, “elevates the work intellectually and makes you stop and look at these everyday objects,” he says, going on to sum up his motive for doing so: “When I approach any still life, I ask myself how I can create the most impactful, powerful painting possible, telling something new in an interesting way.”
Angus originally had no intention of becoming a painter. Born in 1970 in the city of Aberdeen in northeastern Scotland, he certainly did his share of childhood doodling, and his talents always leaned more toward aesthetic pursuits than academics. But his primary interests lay in animation, photography, and film, all of which he went on to study at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee.
Straight out of college, he embarked on a progression of jobs in graphic design, video production, and the early years of computer graphics, including creating what he jocularly describes as “hideous flying logos for corporate videos.” That range of experiences eventually led to a position in the late 1980s creating computer art for a British tech company that launched some of the earliest virtual-reality games for video arcades. In 1995, the company’s growth brought Angus to California’s Silicon Valley, where he progressed through a succession of ever-higher positions in the gaming industry. By the start of the new millennium, he says, “I had climbed too high and was sitting in a lot of executive meetings, art-directing from afar, not getting my hands dirty in a creative sense.”
For the full article in the July 2018 edition of Southwest Art, purchase the July 2018 print issue or view the article online. Learn more about Angus Wilson on his artist page or by visiting Ann Korologos Gallery at 211 Midland Avenue in Basalt, Colorado.