Although categorised as contemporary abstract, David Willis’ new work doesn’t attempt to shy away from reading as landscape painting. The title of the series Nova Terra, meaning ‘New Land’, invites the viewer to contemplate exotic tropical islands and foreign landscapes.

 

Willis takes the titles of his paintings from Exotica music tracks, by composers such as Les Baxter and Martin Denny. Exotica was a musical genre popular in the 1950's that created a pseudo experience of tribal Africa, Amazonia or the South Pacific Islands.

These titles suggest a narrative reading of the work, opening a space for discussion outside of it's formal abstract qualities. 

 

By introducing differing visual languages of patterns and surfaces, the paintings create the sense of space and pictorial depth. Areas of thick impasto are complemented by hard edged stripes or scraped-out patterns, which recede into the near distance. 

 

This physical approach to material is characteristic of the artist, but in Nova Terra the abstract coexists with almost recognisable figurative elements. Landscapes, forests and alien architecture are born in the mind of the viewer, drawing them into the pictorial space.