Lucid Fate: Wiley Wallace @ Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
Phoenix painter Wiley Wallace creates luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds intersecting the real and imagined. Under a neon-hued glow, his realistic and surreal renderings of children and adults are placed amid Arizona landscapes, creating “near-magical” references of the supernatural. Through narratives of connection and communication, Wallace’s imagery suspends the viewer with a playful and macabre innocence.
Often using his own children as models, Wallace’s narratives are open-ended, filled with suggestion and partial disclosures rather than forceful assertions or posited certainties. The themes of connection and communication resonate throughout Wallace’s imagery, as the works’ protagonists seem ever in search of fugitive contact. The skeleton is a recurring figure throughout Wallace’s imagery as well, appearing at times as a sinister harbinger of some kind and at others as Halloween costume level kitsch. Wallace’s pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.
Lucid Fate is Wallace’s debut solo museum exhibition. Presented in co-operation with Thinkspace Projects