Darryl Westly’s unique painting style makes use of disrupted space, disjointed landscapes, and pixelated environments as he examines culture and ethnicity as seen through our hand-held screens. Using a signature layered aesthetic, Westly melds the mental and the physical, historical elements and present-day tropes, reality, and performance of the self; all boundaries become blurred. Up close, his large-scale paintings appear to be an abstraction of colorful liquescent shapes. However, on closer examination, the forms assemble into recognizable moments in history, absorbed into contemporary scenes of idealistic “pics” referencing selfie and FOMO culture. As the line between reality and fiction becomes thinner, Westly wants us to embrace the mess and grow to love and understand a newfound ambivalence. In his Odalisque paintings, beautiful women cuddle Hello Kitty plush toys in apart art-historical reference, part curated post. In other scenes a family-friendly patio table is set before a porn site pop up window a Greco-Roman muse teeters before a Ricci-esque African chambermaid, both floating in timeless and jumbled pixelated space. Chandeliers and flowers appear as signifiers of false opulence while hints of blue sky and greenery attempt to break through the internet takeover, reminding us that there is a world beyond the screen.
Darryl Westly (b. 1989 Chicago, IL) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the Cooper Union in 2014 and previously completed the PrattInstitute Sculpture Program. After graduating, Westly was recruited to work as a finish painter under artist Jeff Koons. In 2016, he participated in the Beirut Art Residency Program. He has had a solo exhibition at ParisTexasLA Gallery LA, included in notable group exhibitions includingVanquishing Ocular curated by David Salle and Nicole Wittenberg at East Hampton’s RentalGallery, Ways To Die by The Bruce High Quality Foundation, been featured as part of ArtCentral Hong Kong with Cuturi Gallery in Singapore and has exhibited as part of the WatermillGala’s Annual Benefit, and has shown with the Nars Foundation in New York. Currently, he paints full-time and exhibits his work internationally. His studio is in Industry City, Brooklyn.