Hollis Taggart, in partnership with The Pierre, is presenting a focused exhibition of work by artist Bill Scott in the hotel’s Two E Bar and Lounge, located at 2 E. 61st Street. The exhibition, which is part of an ongoing series at the hotel, will feature eight of Scott’s vividly-colored and exuberant abstract paintings, creating a dynamic contrast to Two E’s formal Neoclassical interior. Bill Scott at The Pierre will remain on view through June 5, 2019.
Scott’s paintings radiate with life—the luminescent fields of color, geometric forms, and vivid lines arabesque-ing, melding, and re-emerging across the surface plane. Although the works suggest a rapid hand, Scott’s process is deliberately meditative. Over periods of weeks, months, and, even in certain cases, years, Scott works to build texture and depth, in instances layering the oil paint and in others scraping it away. Lines, contours, and colors are emphasized. Areas of the canvas are applied with thin, almost transparent, paint, to create contrasts of density and opacity. Together, these effects produce a vibrant sense of movement that suggest a joyful and ecstatic scene or moment.
Scott’s vivid compositions are inspired by nature and filtered through the artist’s imaginings of an idealized paradise. As one looks at his paintings, suggestions of flora and fauna easily emerge only to disappear into bright, unnatural fields of color. These fantastical spaces serve as kinds of beacons of hope and escape—the idea of human longing becoming an underlying current in his work. Of his paintings, Scott has said, “I think I paint bittersweet fictions. I don’t believe the imagery I paint exists, but I would certainly like it to.” In ways completely abstract and in others strikingly real, Scott’s canvases compel deeper looking to reveal both the physical and conceptual layers. The exhibition at The Pierre features works produced between 1997 and 2017, providing visitors with a snapshot of Scott’s artistic trajectory.
While the artist received his formal education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he credits his time spent with artists Jane Piper and Joan Mitchell for profoundly influencing his practice. Scott first met Piper after writing her about the possibility of a studio visit at the age of 16. Piper became an early mentor, inspiring and developing Scott’s appreciation for thoughtful contemplation and the close study art. This mentorship was succeeded by a close friendship with Mitchell, to whom Scott was introduced in 1980. He would go on to stay with Mitchell at her home in Vétheuil, France, where she often welcomed artists. These relationships have continued to drive Scott’s commitment to abstraction and to ongoing experimentation in his approaches and processes.
Scott has exhibited widely over the past three decades at museums that include Swarthmore College, Hollins University, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Academy Museum, and the University of Delaware. Major public collections with Scott’s work include Cleveland Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute Museum of Art, and Woodmere Art Museum. In 2006, he was awarded a Distinguished Alumni award from the Pennsylvania Academy.