JP Willis overlays familiar images of weapons of war with a panoply of Nature’s colours. Brooding, uncompromising, masculine, the iconography is a reminder of our cultural fascination with violence as mediated through television and film.

Willis’s Lockheed Martin’s F16 fighter, a multi-purpose fighter plane, has various hardpoints for weapons payloads but is re-imagined here as a thing of beauty. Arrayed against saturated pigments the impeccably printed planes are each the same, but different. With the camouflage patterns and visible signifiers of one side or the other painted over, literally “made to look good”, it’s hard to determine whose planes they are, whose ‘side’ they’re on, what’s really going on.

This ambiguity reinforces themes that are central in Willis’s ongoing body of work, Looking for Love: beneath the surface are tensions and dichotomy, a ‘real’ meaning versus a ‘surface’ meaning. The threat implicit in weapons of war is disguised with sugar coating and candy colours: can you believe your eyes?

Self-contained, uncompromising and contemporary, Willis examines the world around him with a painter’s sensibility. His steady output has created a body of work laced through with the same dystopian themes: the nastiness of humanity, and the inevitability of the cruel twist.

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