June 21, 2016 - Giaco Furino
Sunbathers enjoying a midday tan, friends goofing off in a pool, a few swimmers hanging by the rocks… these idyllic images take on an entirely different meaning when presented by painter William Betts. In his new show, SPLASH, up until mid-July at Margaret Thatcher Projects, Betts uses photography at a distance to capture his subjects at play, and then converts those images into pointillated works using a CNC machine. The result is a happy moment captured through a hidden lens, in which the artist calls into question everything we take for granted while out enjoying a sunny day. Phoning in from his home in sunny Miami Beach, Betts tells us about the illusion of privacy and mixing the mundane, the cheerful, with the sinister.Download Article (PDF)
June 15, 2016 - Jennifer Wolf
William Betts’ current exhibition, entitled Splash, at Margaret Thatcher Projects offers a subtle peek at the limits of privacy, cased in the guise of celebrating summer fun in the sun. Adapted from security footage gathered at public pools and the like in the artist’s hometown of Miami, the paintings focus on the waterborne activities of everyday people, blissfully unaware that their fun is being caught on camera. Thus, the content of Splash hedges the line between ethereality and permanence, the sinister and the light-hearted, and voyeurism and celebration, in its dual embrace of Big Brother-like surveillance and the simple quotidian pleasures of the individuals at play in the paintings.Download Article (PDF)
March 16, 2016 - Alison Nastasi
Using CCTV footage, traffic cams, and other surveillance footage, Houston-based artist William Betts creates pixelated paintings with a CNC printer.His subjects are oblivious to the cameras watching them. Although the video frames are seemingly mundane, Betts abstracts and deconstructs the images further through his printing process, reflecting the inherent anxiety of “security” cameras.“I look at images as a collection of data,” the former software industry professional has said. “I use that data, either abstracting it or modifying it or manipulating it, to arrive at the image that I want.”
February 1, 2014 - Trenton Millar
This collection of William Betts artwork shows off the artist’s ability to create extremely realistic paintings using the pointillism style of painting. Rather than using just any photo as his reference to create his works, Betts uses security camera footage instead.
The pieces give the viewer the feeling that they are spying on someone. The pointillism technique adds to the grainy security cam theme that the paintings portray. The ideas of security and privacy make these paintings particularly relevant in the post-modern period.Download Article (PDF)
May 23, 2013 - Kevin Holmes
It's a fact of life that we're constantly spied on by CCTV, those electronic eyes peering down at us and monitoring everything we do. But as Orwellian as all the machine-vision seems, this invasion of privacy and erosion of our civil liberties can serve as a source for art. Art like Time Arnall's short film Robot Readable World culled from found footage and art like the paintings of William Betts.Download Article (PDF)
August 15, 2012 - Juxtapoz
We like to think that we just made up the term Photoreal Pointillism (although a tad redundant), but we love these acrylic pieces by William Betts. Instead of creating work with 19th century subject matter, Betts paints security camera footage instead. The artist has work on display at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart through October 7, 2012.Download Article (PDF)
November 25, 2008 - Eye On Art
From digitally manipulated photographs to works that began as digital images, or were produced via computer programs, technology is at the root of the processes of many contemporary artists.
Stemming from Roy Lichtenstein who used references to graphic art and the methods of mass production to lampoon artists from Monet to the abstract expressionists, his work challenges the romantic notion that art’s value lay in the heroic marks of the artist-genius. Today, however, with the commonplace use of digital technology comes a manifest tension between deeply entrenched romantic ideals and computer-enabled methods.