Patinas from the American Civil War by William Blake
March – May, 2015
William Blake moved to Hinsdale with his family when he was seven and is a graduate of Hinsdale Central High School. He studied at the Florence Academy of Art in the summer of 2012, the Glasgow School of Art in the spring of 2013, and graduated from the University of Illinois in 2014.
Blake started reenacting the Civil War at the age of twelve as a mounted cavalry bugle boy. Like many who enter into the populist subculture of war reenactment, his participation grew from a childhood fascination with the gear, the action, and the epic narrative.
In his work, Blake uses the techniques of classical representation in order to create his portraits. His beautifully rendered paintings are filled with figures taken from western history and from his own life. Using muted tones and direct gazes he creates the sense of stillness and reflection. Appropriating imagery from old masters, film, and contemporary art, he touches on ideas of nationality, dualism, politics, violence, and nostalgia.