Echo & the Bunnymen’s founding guitar player Will Sergeant is set to open his art exhibition My Own Worst Enemy at Substrate Gallery in Los Angeles tomorrow (May 18th), where it will be on display until June 16th. Substrate is a Los Angeles gallery exclusively devoted to the presentation and interpretation of contemporary fine art associated with music, so the pairing is natural. Its current exhibition depicts a series of audio waveforms transposed onto clear bulletproof acrylic, for instance. As the only constant member of Echo & the Bunnymen, Sergeant didn’t change his creative approach when he switched from audio endeavors to visual. “It has always been a mystical process and I still don’t understand where it comes from,” he says of creating. “As with the music, the paintings create their own path and they just lead me down it.”
Although the influence of the New York school of Abstract Impressionism is alluded to in his more abstract pieces, with titles like “Chocolate Orange” Will Sergeant could just as easily be influenced by Economy Candy as Barnett Newman. The more you read about Sergeant, the less you feel like you know where he is located in culture. And now, his abstract art. With its pretty colors and pretty reflections, the art is reminiscent of the Barrow Downs. There’s no danger here of the plagiarism that scorned Bob Dylan’s photo exhibit last year. Sergeant’s theme of “I am the brightest light in your eternal state of starry night,” still sings through in his eternally original cadre. Though a tad pretentious, his lack of knowledge about the purpose of his art is actually refreshing; Sergeant’s work seems more about the pleasure of creation than its retinue. The figurative work looks like a Whitney gift store item — successfully referencing art history while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic. If he’s not painting abstract, he’s depicting figures, insects or knives. His knives are stained with day glo un-oxygenated blood (that is, blue). With qualities of fire and taste buds, bubble forms and fading out, his art doesn’t seem to be breaking any new ground but is executed with an original aesthetic. If you’re in LA, make your way down to the opening.
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