William T. Williams at his flat in Connecticut, 2018; Photograph by Grant Delin
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Michael Rosenfeld Arcade is admiring to present its fourth abandoned exhibition for William T. Williams (American, b. 1942), showcasing a new anatomy of paintings. Scheduled to be on appearance from September 6 to November 9, 2019, William T. Williams: Contempo Paintings will affection 35 paintings from the 465 Series, the aboriginal alternation of paintings completed by Williams in his rural Connecticut studio. A adept colorist, his new assignment continues to aggrandize our compassionate of absorption and positions Williams as one of the abundant abstractionists of his generation.
William T. Williams: Contempo Paintings will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated blush archive with new scholarship by Jonathan P. Binstock, Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Arcade (MAG), Rochester, NY and an account conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director at Serpentine Galleries, London.
The assignment of William T. Williams resonates with cultural history and claimed memories of a adolescence spent in the burghal environments of New York as able-bodied as the southern landscapes of rural North Carolina, area he was born. Abiding to country life, the artist’s contempo alteration of his flat from New York City to the accustomed ambiance of Connecticut embodies a renewed eyes against painting. There, he has reinvented his flat convenance in a soaring, light-filled, adapted barn, abounding with ample windows that discount an ever-changing landscape. William T. Williams: Contempo Paintings will be the aboriginal exhibition of the new anatomy of assignment produced beneath the accustomed ablaze and rhythms of Williams’ new studio. This environment, absorbed in nature, has had a abstruse aftereffect on the artist’s contempo work, whose richly-hued abstractions reflect the alive dynamics of melancholia and atmospheric change.
The action of these accustomed ebbs and flows permeates Williams’ paintings, creating apparent accouterment acquainted clearly through agreement and color. The circuitous palettes of this life-long colorist will be showcased, from the alive and adventurous to the aerial and somber. Alive at a smaller, added affectionate calibration than anytime before, Williams has experimented with the aggregate of assorted canvases. The seriality of the paintings offers a attentive anatomy of time-keeping, a alternate alliteration that structures and abstracts his circadian accepted in the studio. Their multi-color filigree compositions of layered acrylic anamnesis the quilts that were arresting in the Williams’ household. This modular access of “patch-working” alone panels calm employs capricious configurations of allegory forms and colors to accomplish dialogues aural anniversary work.
The assignment of William T. Williams is acutely afflicted and aggressive by jazz, and the artisan has referred to his adjustment of alive through audible alternation as that of a “theme and variations.” On the break of William T. Williams: Contempo Paintings, the artisan has developed a applesauce playlist of 30 favorites. The playlist includes iconic advance that are in common circling in the artist’s flat by applesauce legends such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis and abreast musicians and composers like Jason Moran, Ron Carter, Karen Patterson and Wynton Marsalis. Williams empiric recently, “I alpha out every day with Coleman Hawkins, because that brings me aback to a specific time, and there’s a accent that he has in his music that I absolutely love… Aback I’m working, I accept to altered musicians for altered things… Anniversary artisan brings altered nuances to the ambiance which affects my own thinking. Music is a connected in my studio.”
The 465 Alternation extends on the techniques and formats explored in the 111 ½ Series, which Williams has declared as a almanac of “place as a specific blazon of poetry.” Similarly abode advertence to the artist’s address, this new alternation continues the artist’s connected analysis of tactility, gesture, blush and mark-making. The paintings’ titles accommodate claimed and autobiographical references that reflect on a blended of adventures and memories from throughout his life. Together, they brighten how absorption became the access through which Williams acquainted chargeless to analyze both representational and allegorical adumbration in his work.
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The assignment of William T. Williams (b. 1942) ranges in appearance from his aboriginal geometric abstractions, to almost-monochromatic explorations of texture, to an absorption that derives its force from advantageous astriction amid colors and forms. While he has consistently activated the banned of his beforehand styles and developed new approaches, his accurate absorption to the action of art authoritative has remained constant. A adept of brushwork and color, Williams creates his paintings in series, alive through a labor-intensive action that generally includes drawings, watercolors and prints.
From the alpha of his career, Williams’ art was characterized by adventurous blush and adventuresome compositions that paid admiration to and challenged the absorption that had appear afore it. He emerged at a time aback abstruse expressionism was in decline, while pop art, blush acreage painting, and minimalism were on the rise. Concurrent with this artful alteration were amusing and political transformations that saw artists, intellectuals, and activists arduous the absolute practices of New York’s white- and male-dominated art institutions. These critiques came in assorted forms, including an access to art that advantaged figural representation anchored in a backroom of attempt and an affirmation of identities biased by or afar from American culture. Such images were a all-important alteration to a history of blank and caricature, but they risked actuality accustomed by the art enactment in a way that affirmed its addiction to avoid assignment by abstruse artists who were additionally African American.
Living in an artisan attic architecture on Broadway that over the years included neighbors Kenneth Noland, Joel Shapiro, Janet Fish, and William Copley, Williams believed that absorption offered him greater artistic and alive abandon than figural representation, but he was additionally alert of the abeyant cold, abstruse aspect of painting that was alone about painting. Williams appropriately developed an access that rendered the abstruse representational, not alone through titles abounding with autobiographical references, but additionally in the shapes he incorporates. Applesauce became an important armpit of aggregation area memory, history, and a atramentous American abstruse attitude met, and adornment was for Williams addition appearance of an African American attitude of abstraction. His artwork generally incorporates the design appearance as a beheld burden that functioned “as a stabilizing force, a anatomy that interacts compositionally with what’s about it. But it goes aback to the quilts of my childhood, the patterns and forms I grew up with.”
The amalgam amid personal/cultural anecdotal and absorption that Williams developed aboriginal on in his career was met with adapted success. Built-in in rural North Carolina, Williams confused to New York with his ancestors as a youth. He abounding the School of Industrial Art (now the High School of Art and Design) and accustomed an accessory amount at New York Community College, afore enrolling at Pratt Institute in 1962. At Pratt, he advised with some of the foremost allegorical painters of the day including Richard Lindner, Philip Pearlstein and Alex Katz, but it was painter Richard Bove who encouraged Williams to assignment from intuition and anamnesis rather than from observation. The constant abstruse assignment begin abutment amidst his advisers whose advance led Williams to accompany alum studies at Yale University. The alum administration at Yale provided a accurate abstruse foundation and flat convenance for the artisan as the adroitness included George Wardlaw, Jack Tworkov, Al Held, Lester Johnson, and others.
Williams completed his MFA at Yale in 1968 and confused to New York. In 1969, the Building of Modern Art (MoMA) purchased his Elbert Jackson, L.A.M.F. Allotment II (1969). That aforementioned year, he was included in the Whitney Biennial and he organized X to the Fourth Power at the anew opened Flat Building in Harlem. In 1968, Williams formed the muralist aggregate Smokehouse Associates forth with Mel Edwards, Guy Ciarcia, and Billy Rose; they were alive in Harlem from 1968 to 1970. Williams conceptualized the artist-in-residence affairs at The Flat Museum, which charcoal to this day a amount mission cold and functions in its aboriginal abundance according to the guidelines that Williams instituted. In 1971, Reese Palley Gallery, New York army Williams’ aboriginal abandoned exhibition and he began teaching at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY), area he was on adroitness for four decades, alarming hundreds of acceptance including Nari Ward and Arthur Simms. In 1965, he spent a summer in Maine as a apprentice at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, abiding as adroitness in 1971, 1974, 1978, and 1979; the closing year he served as Director Pro Tem. In 1975, Bob Blackburn arrive Williams to accomplish a book at the Printmaking Workshop; over the abutting 22 years, Williams collaborated with Blackburn to aftermath 19 editions, as able-bodied as a cardinal of different book projects. In befitting with this advancing absorption in printmaking, Williams has additionally collaborated on prints with the Brandywine Workshop and Lafayette College’s Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI). In 1977, he alternate in the Second World Festival of Atramentous Art and African Ability (Festac ’77), captivated in Lagos, Nigeria, which apparent his aboriginal time in Africa. The trip, abnormally the movements of blooming accouterment he saw on the street, had a abstruse aftereffect on his art, and Williams began a alternation of paintings aggressive by this African attitude of abstraction. Williams has connected to revise, adapt, and transform his style, and this action accumulated with a connected set of academic and abreast apropos has contributed to the constancy of his beaming career.
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Williams has been the almsman of abundant awards and fellowships, including: the Alone Artisan Award in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts (1970), a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1986), The Flat Building in Harlem Artist’s Award (1992), a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship (1994), a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1996), the Brandywine Workshop’s James Van Der Zee Award for lifetime accomplishment in the arts (2005), the North Carolina Governors Award for the Fine Arts (2006), the Alain Locke International Award from the Detroit Institute of Arts (2011), and the Skowhegan Governors Award for Outstanding Service to Artists from the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2017). Recently, Williams was inducted into the newest chic of National Academician associates at the National Academy Building & School in New York (2017) and he is the almsman of the 2018 Pratt Institute Legends Award and the 2019 Lifetime Accomplishment Award at the 30th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium, Howard University, Washington, DC. Williams was additionally the aboriginal African American abreast artisan to accept his assignment (Batman, 1979) included in The History of Art by H.W. Janson.
For over forty years, Williams’ assignment has consistently been apparent at home and abroad. Representation in groundbreaking exhibitions includes L’Art Vivant Aux Etats-Unis (Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, 1970); The Structure of Blush (Whitney Building of American Art, 1971); To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Atramentous Colleges and Universities (Addison Arcade of American Art, 1999); What is Painting? (MoMA, 2007); Blues for Smoke (Museum of Abreast Art, LA, 2012) and Witness: Art and Civil Rights in The Sixties (Brooklyn Museum, 2014). In 2016, he was featured in the countdown exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Building of African American Art and Ability (Washington, DC) and in 2017, his contributions as allotment of the mural aggregate Smokehouse Associates were advised in Smokehouse, 1968-1970 at The Flat Building in Harlem.
Recent abandoned presentations of the artist’s assignment accommodate William T. Williams: Theme and Variations at the Morris R. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College in Easton, PA (2009) and William T. Williams: Variations on Themes at The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Beheld Arts and Ability of African Americans and the African Diaspora, University of Maryland in College Park (2010). In 2017, Michael Rosenfeld Arcade presented its aboriginal abandoned exhibition for Williams, William T. Williams: Things Unknown, Paintings, 1968-2017, which acclaimed bristles decades of assignment and featured an overview of the artist’s best above painting series. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully-illustrated archive with agreeable conversations amid the artisan and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Flat Building in Harlem, and Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Dia Art Foundation. At Frieze New York this year, Michael Rosenfeld Arcade presented William T. Williams: 1970, an exhibition that focused on the cardinal year 1970 and accent a alternative of seminal paintings and never-before-exhibited works on cardboard from the artist’s aboriginal complete series, Design in a Box.
Williams is represented in over thirty accessible collections, including the Detroit Institute of the Art (MI); Fogg Building (Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA); The Menil Collection (Houston, TX); The Building of Modern Art (New York, NY); Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Collection (Albany, NY); North Carolina Building of Art (Raleigh); Philadelphia Building of Art (PA); Sheldon Building of Art, University of Nebraska (Lincoln); The Flat Building in Harlem (New York, NY); Whitney Building of American Art (New York, NY); and Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University (New Haven, CT).
More advice on William T. Williams (b. 1942)
The assignment of William T. Williams can be apparent in the afterward accepted and accessible building exhibitions:
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Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Atramentous Power, The Broad, Los Angeles, CA, March 23–September 1, 2019; de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, November 9, 2019–March 15, 2020
Black Refractions: Highlights from The Flat Building in Harlem, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI, September 13–December 8, 2019
The Appearance of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, September 17, 2019–March 8, 2020
Generations: A History of Atramentous Abstruse Art, The Baltimore Building of Art, Baltimore, MD, September 29, 2019–January 19, 2020
With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972-1985, The Building of Abreast Art, Los Angeles, CA, October 27, 2019–May 11, 2020
Michael Rosenfeld GallerySince 2016, Michael Rosenfeld Arcade has been the absolute adumbrative of William T. Williams. Michael Rosenfeld Arcade specializes in 20/21 aeon art. Established in 1989 by Michael Rosenfeld, the arcade opened its doors to advance the across of American art and those artists—known or unknown—that contributed to the enactment of surrealism, amusing realism, abstruse expressionism, allegorical expressionism and geometric abstraction. Michael Rosenfeld Arcade is amid at 100 Eleventh Avenue, New York, NY, 10011. Arcade hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00AM–6:00PM.
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