Visiting William T. Wiley
’s studio is like going into a dark room after being in bright sunlight — your eyes need to adjust to the density before you can see anything at all. And being in his environment is like viewing his art work… you look and you read and you smile and you puzzle and you have flashes of “ahh… yes!” You keep exploring and no matter how thorough you think you’re being, you’re continually finding something you didn’t see before… making discoveries… connecting… deciphering his codes… comprehending his malapropisms… learning his visual vocabulary… getting his jokes.
And understanding that very often, his “jokes” are as serious as a loose razor blade in the bottom of your toiletries bag. That despite the comic strip manner, the baseness of the double entendre, the goofiness of his pun, Wiley’s art is a clanging alarm.
You may be impressed that after more than 50 years of art making, Wiley’s still willing to take on the senseless. That he’s not been beaten down, that he cares too much not to keep chipping at it. Can’t keep from ranting and chanting and charming in the hopes of getting through to someone.
And you’re moved by his stick-to-it-iveness. His lucidity. The down-home common sense and the frontier-plainness of the poetry.