The New Metropolis
Both artists, though possessing very different sensibilities (McWilliams with his playful bright palette, and D’Ospina with his solemn grisaille), share a fascination with the man-made, and a curious rejection of the man himself. D’Ospina’s and McWilliams’ paintings are conspicuously devoid of humanity, and simply depict ghostly artifacts of constructed objects: giant skeletons of scaffolding, an empty room of old engines, a broken down bus deteriorating in a dusty shed. The images are ominous, and the sheer scale of the paintings leave one with the feeling that these objects have taken on a significance that one wouldn’t ordinarily ascribe to such commonplace items. A fundamental shift in perspective happens at the societal level: McWilliams seems to revel in the wonder of progress, invention, construction, where D’Ospina laments that very same progress by depicting the fossils of a more optimistic industrial era. The tension between modern activity on one hand and the detritus it inevitably becomes on the other creates a soulful, profound, and incredibly beautiful essay on the materialism and industry of modern man.