ONECITY

In the late 1960s, Will Insley envisioned the concept of ONECITY, a 67 square mile architectural labyrinth buried in the central North American plains. The decades long project consists of drawings, paintings, and photo-collages.  The drawings represent architectural renderings of  abstract buildings that surround ONECITY as vacant ruins to be abandoned after they are built. They were originally shown in his exhibition at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NYC in 1984. The acrylic paintings, also named ‘Wall Fragments’, represent remnants from the walls of ONECITY. The photomontages further the visualization of this civilization. ONECITY was designed as an imaginary city to house 400 million people of the time, considered the entire population of the United States. During the era of ONECITY the outer rim of the country is inhabitable, possibly due to environmental devastation.

During the 40 years he developed ONECITY, Insley established  not only an architectural layout consisting of over 14,000 outer city square buildings, each two and half miles wide, but an entire sociological order for its citizens. No visible leader exists, but a democratic voting system occurs every day. Instead of a vertical religious order, the inhabitants worship the horizontal line as a mythical space between earth and sky. The center of ONECITY holds the Opaque Library, “the seed and soul” which houses information and secrets, not accessible to the populace. Through his wall fragments, drawings and photomontage, Insley explores an abstract civilization, created line by line using logic, dimension and spatial theories in combination with interrelationship of people living in a futuristic environment.

More facts about ONECITY in Insley's vision.

DRAWINGS

INSLEY_Building No. 41, Volume Space, In

Volume Space Interior Swing Section Through1, 1973-80
ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

The large scale ink on paper drawings represent architectural renderings of abstract buildings which surround ONECITY as vacant ruins to be abandoned after they are built. Insley created over 40 drawings of abstract buildings of these intricate structures that are only partially above ground, originally shown in his exhibition at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NYC in 1984. Most drawings are in black and colored ink and prove an extraordinary mastery of the medium and vision.

Building No. 38
Building No. 38

Passage Space Field, Gate 2 Section, 1973-82 ink on ragboard, 40 x 40 inches

ONECITY Building A, Section A
ONECITY Building A, Section A

1979-80 ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

ONECITY Building Room, Section Red Green Elevation
ONECITY Building Room, Section Red Green Elevation

1978-81 ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

Building Room Under
Building Room Under

1978-82/83 ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

Volume Space 4 /Section 2,
Volume Space 4 /Section 2,

1972 graphite on paper, 30 x 30 inches

DETAIL of ONECITY
DETAIL of ONECITY

Building Room Under-Building Isometric, 1978-82 or 83, ink on paper, 40 x 60 inches

Building No. 41
Building No. 41

Volume Space Interior Swing, Isometric X-ray, View Through the Ground, 1973-80 or 81, ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

Passage Space 1248 Isometric
Passage Space 1248 Isometric

1973-83 ink on ragboard, 40 x 60 inches

Building No. 33
Building No. 33

Passage Space Mountain, Plan Oblique, 1973-83, ink on ragboard, 40 x 40 inches

Building No. 27
Building No. 27

Stage Space Cluster, Plan Oblique, 1971-83, ink on ragboard, 40 x 40 inches

Building No. 18
Building No. 18

Passage Space Field Gate 1, Plan Oblique, 1970-83, ink on ragboard, 40 x 40 inches

Building No. 1
Building No. 1

Stage Space Reduce, Plan Oblique, 1967-83, ink on ragboard. 40 x 40 inches

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PAINTINGS

INSLEY_Mythological Elsewhere install 12

The ‘Wall Fragments’ are tri-dimensional paintings on masonite which represent remnants from the walls of ONECITY. Some paintings have white backgrounds with an apparent maze of colored or black lines reminiscent of aerial maps but also of tension lines; others are block of flat color. They range from medium to monumental in size, and their presence in the space recreates the civilization Insley envisioned. In his view, “if there are wall fragments, there must be buildings; if buildings – a city, if a city – a civilization, if a civilization – a religion; -- all the ingredients to form a mythological context."

Wall Fragment No. 94.7
Wall Fragment No. 94.7

1994 Acrylic on masonite 80 80 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 93.8-94.3 1989/03 Acrylic, pencil on masonite 42 x 24.5 x 2 inches
Wall Fragment No. 93.8-94.3 1989/03 Acrylic, pencil on masonite 42 x 24.5 x 2 inches

1989/03 Acrylic, pencil on masonite 42 x 24.5 x 2 inches

Wall Fragment no. 03.02
Wall Fragment no. 03.02

1989/03 Acrylic, pencil on masonite 84 x 87 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 94.6
Wall Fragment No. 94.6

1994 Acrylic on masonite 80 80 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 93.11
Wall Fragment No. 93.11

1993 Acrylic on masonite 80 x 80 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 93.12
Wall Fragment No. 93.12

1993 acrylic on masonite 80 x 80 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 90.8-93.6
Wall Fragment No. 90.8-93.6

1990-93 acrylic on masonite 25 x 26.5 inches

Wall Fragment No. 99.1,
Wall Fragment No. 99.1,

1999 acrylic on masonite 18.5 x 21.5

Wall Fragment No. 90.7
Wall Fragment No. 90.7

1990 acrylic on masonite 25 x 26.5 inches

Wall Fragment No 96.2
Wall Fragment No 96.2

1996 acrylic on masonite 84 x 81 x 3 inches

Wall Fragment No. 93.11
Wall Fragment No. 93.11

1993 acrylic on masonite 80 x 80 x 3 inches

Installation view
Installation view

Wall Fragment No. 75.42 Wall Fragment No. 75.45 Wall Fragment No. 75.41 Wall Fragment No. 75.50 Wall Fragment No. 75.50 Wall Fragment No. 75.51 Wall Fragment No. 75.53 1975, acrylic on masonite, 24 x 24 inches each

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PHOTO-MONTAGES

The vintage photo-collages of various scales aim to provide more referential authenticity to ONECITY by integrating it within the known geography of North America and with the markers of the natural world. The photographs represent paper-mache scale models that Insley created and subsequently photographed in order to convey how the imaginary city would be viewed from the surface of the Earth, since most of the massive structure is underground.

Building No. 14
Building No. 14

Channel Space Auto-run, 1969-74 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 24 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View from the air, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View from the ground, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Building No. 17
Building No. 17

Passage Space Spiral, 1984 vintage photo-montage, 47 x 47 inches

Abstract Building
Abstract Building

View 2 from the ground, 1972 vintage photo-montage, 15 x 30.5 inches

Abstract Building
Abstract Building

View 1 from the ground, 1972 vintage photo-montage, 15 x 30.5 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View 2 from the ground, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View from the ground 2, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

ONECITY
ONECITY

View from the air, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View from the ground, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Buildings No. 19-20
Buildings No. 19-20

Interior Building Corridor of Life Gate View from the air, 1970-72 vintage photo-montage, 30 x 30 inches

Map of ONECITY
Map of ONECITY

circa 1960s, graphite on map, 40 x 60 inches

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STRUCTURAL MODELS

The structural models illustrate the various steps of the creative process, to highlight the artist’s meticulous process as well as his creative imagination. The 1960s was a period when Insley wanted to “renounce art” within its accepted formal limits; one of the results was his subsequent fascination with modular, repetitive structures.

Detail
Detail

/Building/ No. 13 - Channel Space Hexagon 1968

Detail
Detail

/Building/ No. 17 - Passage Space Spiral

Detail
Detail

/Building/ No. 5 Channel Space Reverse, 1968 acrylic and graphite on wood 60 x 60 x 4 inches

ONECITY Maquette
ONECITY Maquette

circa 1960s, paper, graphite, 12 x 12 inches

Insley Maquette 2
Insley Maquette 2

/Building/ No. 6 Channel Space Spiral, 1973 vintage photomontage 47.5 x 47.5 inches /Building/ No. 5 Channel Space Reverse, 1968 acrylic and graphite on wood 60 x 60 x 4 inches

/Building/ No. 8
/Building/ No. 8

Volume Space 2 – view from the air, 1968/73, 1968-70 Mixed media, wood, graphite 30 x 30 x 3 inches

Insley Maquette
Insley Maquette
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Will Insley © WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC