Nov 13, 2021–Feb 6, 2022


The figures in Brickel’s works are partly representations of himself but are also standalone actors that perform and draw out emotional distress and catharsis to which we are made witness. Brickel projects his face onto the visage of his subject matter. At once intimately personal and emotionally closed off, each figure is absorbed into the theatricality of their two-dimensional world, as the viewer is cognizant of their emotional intensity.

“There is a sincerity about Brickel’s unique approach to painting — he is deeply committed to his unique style and ethos and leaves room for audiences to approach the work with their own perspectives and experiences. Brickel’s work is truly alive and he is constantly in dialogue with it,” said Chief Curator, Emma Saperstein.

For Brickel, these scenes are representations of his lived experience; each canvas is a window into a state of emotional vulnerability. Figures exist together in one picture plane, male bodies wrap around each other in an intimate double helix, but relationships are uncertain, and eye contact is never established. The figures are emotionally distant from each other and from the viewer, protecting themselves from the world we inhabit.

The distorted qualities of Brickel’s subjects reflect the artist’s process of working from memory. Forgoing photographs or any recorded material, Brickel employs his imagination while translating past experiences onto canvas. His works are filled with bits and pieces of personal recollections, filtered through the inevitable fog of human memory. This practice results in meditative compositions that are solemn, beautiful, and captivating.

“We are so pleased at this opportunity to serve as the museum premiere for these works before they are sent to their new permanent homes. It is an honor to work with Josh Friedman and the stellar team at Kohn Gallery,” stated SLOMA Director, Leann Standish.

About the Artist
William Brickel’s works are the result of imagination, recalled memories, and observations of everyday situations. His compositions take shape rapidly, shifting and morphing during their creation; they are the product of subconscious and conscious decisions. The human figure is a recurrent and central concern in William Brickel’s practice, providing a means to examine the contemporary status of the self, the other, and how the two may exist together. Brickel’s subjects consider interiority, self-possession, alienation, and isolation.

William Brickel (b. 1994) is a painter based in London, UK. He studied Fine Art Photography at Camberwell College of Art, UK in 2015-2017 and finished the Post- Graduate Program at the Royal Drawing School in London in 2017-2018.

William Brickel: I'd Tell You If I could is presented thanks to the following sponsors: the City of SLO, Hotel San Luis Obispo, KSBY6 News, Geri LaChance, and David Richards in honor of Geoff Tuck

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