ABSTRACTION is not usually the means by which artists tell a story, but Will Day approaches his canvases and wood panels as an opportunity to bring forth a story in the moment and not as a sequence of events. Many of his paintings have been commissioned, and for each he tries to connect to and relay the inner narrative of his patron. This has generated a body of work characterized by individual instances rather than series work with permutations of one concept or theme. Yet there is continuity to be found in his process of building a painting and experimenting with tools and techniques of applying his oils and acrylics.
After the trauma of 9/11 in which his wife survived the collapse of the World Trade Towers, he left a career in finance and studied architecture, which turned out to be a way station to his turn to painting. His architectural impulse carried over in the expressive actions of manipulating his implements, often those associated with construction — the cheaper the tools the better. With various surfaces serving as a field of operations, Day creates textures, layers, and effects layers, discovering relationships and using resulting edges to create structure. Working on multiple paintings at the same time in his Boulder, Colorado studio, he reaches for an emotional power based in grand design that yet defies limits, which he believes he attains through grace.
A reader of Joseph Campbell, he, in essence, enters each work as a path through the unknown to a self-overcoming experience. Considering himself a doer, it is the act of painting that drives each painting to where it wants to be. Day starts with a lone mark. Then he struggles with and relents to the viscous material accepting and resisting, using color as some sort of otherworldly force that aligns with or bursts out of the emerging configuration. As a youth, he was a spirited athlete and player of many sports, and so his natural inclination is expression through physicality, but now it is the means by which he seeks a higher power to tell a soul’s tale.
Ph.D Yale University