1984 - La Carnivale -  Australia Council Studio - London 1984
Large scale drawings - laminated -  Air Gallery, London & Portsmouth City Museum UK

I produced two suites of drawings during my residency with the Australia Council Studio in London. 

  1. The first series were all large scale sepia pencil drawings, perhaps 15 in all, (not including small studies and sketches) which worked through the representation of the theme of the 'Carnivale'. These drawings were exhibited at the Air Gallery (studio) in conjuction with an exhibition of Adrian Wiszniewki's massive B/W drawings, 3 in total.
  2. The second series the London drawings were coloured - there were a further 8-10 of these drawings which were exhibited at the Portmouth City Museum, with the work of Mary-Rose Sinn, the Australian sculptor at that point teaching at the Royal College of Art.

Both these series of drawings were exhibited at Performance Space Gallery on my return to Sydney in 1985.

If there is an 'Australian' impulse in this work it would be located as the desire to absorb and digest a spectrum of local influences. In these works influences are appropriated and implicit. Willis retains the passion of 'self' images, common in the work of 'Gilbert & George' for example, but depersonalises them. Influences from Robert Longo, Jean-Marc Prouveure and Andy Stahl are also in evidence.
Air Gallery - London - 1984 


Elwynn Lynn's review for The Australian, 'Willis - Meta physician in a frenzy' is availble on www.mostxlnt.co.uk/willis .  Click on the  images above or see below.

'Does Willis have any forebears? As far as I know, only in the drawings of Umberto Boccioni, such as those in New York's Museum of Modern Art.  For Willis the page is a stage and he prefers his theatre to have content. Enigmas abound and one thinks of the Pittura Metafisica and the work of the dramatist Pirandello and his actors in search of an author.'.
Elwynn Lynn - The Australian - 1985

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