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McClain Gallery presents a solo exhibition of new work by Ho uston-based artist William Betts in the back two bays. In Recognition\, Betts continues to explore the "elasticity" of the d igital image through his Surveillance series using frozen screensh ots from video surveillance recordings as source materials for paintings.   Here\, he focuses on anonymous groups of people at a mall or on the street\ , and also zeroes in on individuals - entering the intimate realm of portra iture with a unique detachment.

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Using a software-controlled process \, the artist fastidiously oversees the application of thousands of acrylic dots to a single canvas and in this distinctive application process allude s to the very nature of photography\, printmaking and painting at once.  Th e play with the concept of pixelation also yields a grainy impression much like that of a surveillance TV screen. 

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What emerges from viewing t hese densely complex works is an uneasy voyeurism\; though the scenes sugge st no obvious danger\, they still evoke a decidedly paranoid tone. As a vie wer\, there is an eerie sense of being the watcher and also the distinct po tential of being watched: a strange\, but relevant part of contemporary tec hnological life. The result is a body of work that challenges as well as in vites. 

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Instead of condensing concrete information into retina- challenging abstract compositions\, he reproduced imagery captured on surve illance cameras and traffic cams using dots that mimic the pixilated nature of his source images. Although less mysterious than the artist's abstract compositions\, they have one thing in common with the other series: an inte rest in what is ordinarily unseen\, elements that Betts draws out for publi c consumption\, be it the colorful reality and composition of a pixel or\, in this case\, a kind of surveillance imagery that is not commonly availabl e. Betts avoids overt sensationalism-we don't witness crimes or accidents. But the very mundanity of the scenes serves as a reminder that the promise of security offered by surveillance technology also comes at the price of p rivacy. 

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excerpt from: WILLIAM BETTS by Claudia Schmukli\,  catalog for 2008 Houston Area Show\, Blaffer Gallery\, University of Houst on

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About William Betts:

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Hou ston artist William Betts received his B.A. in studio art from Arizona Stat e University.  He has been a finalist for the Hunting Prize three times\, a nd has recently been awarded the 2012 annual prize from New American Pa intings.  In 2010\, Betts received an individual artist grant from Hou ston Arts Alliance.  His work has been shown nationwide\, as well as intern ationally in London and in Canada and will be on view in the upcoming exhib ition Rasterfahndung (Tracing the Grid) at the Kunstmuseum Stuttga rt from May 5\, 2012 through October 7\, 2012.

DTEND:20120623 DTSTAMP:20140713T233419 DTSTART:20120512 GEO:29.7344499;-95.4149479 LOCATION:McClain Gallery\,2242 Richmond Avenue \nHouston\, TX 77098 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY: RECOGNITION\, William Betts UID:215265 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120512T160000 DTSTAMP:20140713T233419 DTSTART:20120512T140000 GEO:29.7344499;-95.4149479 LOCATION:McClain Gallery\,2242 Richmond Avenue \nHouston\, TX 77098 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY: RECOGNITION\, William Betts UID:215266 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR