Friday, April 13, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m at the Tyler School of Art Gallery, 2001 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 

Blake's recent paintings depict scenes from American Civil War reenactments which he has been a participant in for over 15 years. He currently interprets the artist-correspondent Winslow Homer at these battle reenactments where he immerses himself in the materiality of his own obsession by constructing period clothes, camping on battlefields, and documenting the reenactment similar to Homer’s documentation of the authentic war. 

Some of Blake’s life-sized portraits reference Winslow Homer’s croquet paintings created during and soon after the Civil War. For Blake, Homer’s croquet paintings show a relationship between play and tragedy that expresses the War’s lack of closure. To echo this relationship, his paintings depict individuals who play through that war, via war reenactment, renewing the gestures of a national trauma. They gesture with respect and the desire to educate, to humble, and to play. The unresolved issues of the war are seen far beyond the faux-battlefields. Yet, they are made reflective through the gestures of reenactors, whom not only navigate the gender and racial roles within reenactment but the physical liveness of the war itself. The paintings in this exhibition encourage a review of our history and aid in its continuous revision. 

William Blake is an artist living in Philadelphia, PA. His work has been published in the New American Paintings issue #119, and he was a finalist in the Art Renewal Center (ARC) International Salon competition for 2015. He has been a resident artist at the Berkshire Painting Residency in New York as well as the Vermont Studio Center. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently finishing his Master of Fine Arts degree at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. 

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