Tag Archives: Charles Williams

CHARLES WILLIAMS at the Gibbes Museum

3 Jun

 

Gibbes visiting artist Charles Williams wants you to touch his paintings — and draw on them

Reestablishing the narrative

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Wed, May 31, 2017

The Day After

“This feels like a family reunion,” says Charles Williams, standing, grinning, a little out of breath, surveying tables covered in crayons and blank watercolor papers; sheets of brown and white paper are hung around the room, waiting for Williams’ deft hand. This studio on the Gibbes ground floor will be Williams’ home, or at least artistic hub, for the next two weeks. He’s rushing to get everything set up — there’s a fellows luncheon in a few hours and executive director Angela Mack swings by to let him know some members may be stopping in. Williams is more than accommodating; he’s a nice guy, but he’s also confident in his work. He isn’t afraid of a few premature visitors.
“As a child I remember coming to the Gibbes, and now I’m here during Spoleto, it’s huge.” A Georgetown, S.C. native and Savannah College of Art and Design alum, Williams is a man of the Lowcountry through and through, and community is important to him, especially in Charleston. “I feel like Charleston was a city that really stood out with all that’s been happening [with race relations in the country] … it just really showed the essence of what the Lowcountry embodies. Charleston really set the bar [of how a city should respond] and I thought ‘How can I capitalize on this?'”

Hot off of “two years of intensity” at UNC Greensboro — Wiliams just graduated this spring with a Masters in Fine Art — the artist is ready to let loose, to break down barriers and knock out walls. “The power of museums and art galleries is they’re community centers. They serve multiple purposes. But when you go to these institutions, they say you can’t touch. And I understand why … but you go to these places repeatedly and they keep saying ‘you can’t do this.’ The rebellion and curiosity in me says ‘Well, what if I did touch, what if I did make a mark?'”
In his new series premiering at the Gibbes, Child’s Play: Everyone Loves the Sunshine, Williams uses old black-and-white photographs from the 1920s through 1960s that show people from different backgrounds coming together, uniting behind a common cause. Williams was inspired to seek out this theme after the multiple police brutality incidents of 2016, “There was one incident that really compelled me … that led me to create this work. What I wanted to say with this work is look at how little we’ve changed. History is like looking at our own reflection. I think when you know where you’ve been and where you’ve come from you can reposition yourself to move forward.”

And I Still Love

And, there’s no point in moving forward if we don’t move forward together. Which is where we, the public, come in. “So basically I’ve created this adult coloring book,” says Williams, directing my attention to a sheet of paper with two intricately drawn figures, two little boys, hands intertwined as one helps the other with what appears to be a hurt finger. The image is taken from one of Williams’ historic photographs, the boys fading away at the edges, surrounded by scratches of “school bus” yellow, smudges of gray, circles of red. “People can come and add color to this, draw over the figures, whatever they want.” My heart drops — let some random stranger potentially ruin this beautiful, carefully crafted work with an errant mark?
Yes. But it will not be a ruining, it will be a rendering, one that Williams will continue to work with. “Viewers can come in and paint, and recreate works with me. If they want to paint over arms or legs, that’s OK. My goal is to break down the barriers.”
Williams puts me to work, having me rip (carefully!) watercolor papers into 10×10 scratch pads that visitors will be able to color on. I’m not someone who can “eyeball” something, and I tell Williams this. But he trusts me. Trust has to be an integral part of his process — it’s trust that unites, says Williams. “When Charleston came together there was a trust that was there, that connected everyone to stand strong, to not destroy the city. Within that trust, I thought ‘What does that symbol look like?’ And that symbol looks like the handshake. Growing up, my grandfather couldn’t read or write so he told me that you have to have a firm handshake. He had five kids, and needed to provide for his family. He said ‘You look a man or woman in their eyes, shake their hand firmly, and do what you say you’re going to do.’ That establishes trust. So I was thinking, how can we in the community reestablish that?”
Williams, by highlighting images with hands that depict “strength, power, control, vulnerability, help, forgiveness,” is creating a space of trust, a space sans barriers. He doesn’t copy the images — that would miss the point entirely. He uses them as a base, a foundation that he builds on to evolve the photograph in his “own language” with intuitive mark makings and strokes. “There’s me reestablishing the narrative.”
By adding color — particularly the school bus yellow that is included in every piece in the series — Williams is making the pieces his own, and mine, and yours. Williams, ever the student, says that “all the colors are specific from my studies of the psychology of color and how they affect humans. School bus yellow in Child’s Play is observant, happy, expressive, curious … For me, I’m curious to see what viewers and participants make and do with the crayons and markers. And I can weave in and out with the marks they put. Painting has a long lineage of documenting the now. I’m pushing the envelope of how I can open the dialogue further.” And if you come into the Gibbes on a day when you’re feeling glum, or out of sorts, you don’t have to draw bright yellow sunshines on Williams’ large-scale adult coloring book. “Whatever color you’re feeling, put down that. If you’re feeling blue, use blue. That’s the beauty of it, no barriers.”

Click HERE to view available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

 

Morton Fine Art in Texas Contemporary

23 Aug

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Texas Contemporary DSC00764_copy_1140_475_c1

Fair Dates/Hours/Location

September 29 – October 2, 2016 – George R. Brown Convention Center – 1001 Avenida De Las Americas Houston, Texas 77010

OPENING NIGHT: TEXAS CONTEMPORARY PREVIEW

Thursday September 29, 2016

6:00pm to 10:00pm

6:00pm – 8:00pm | Early Access: Exclusively for those who have paid to receive a Patron VIP Pass

8:00pm – 10:00pm| The Preview opens to VIP Pass and Fair Pass holders

PURCHASE TICKETS

PUBLIC FAIR HOURS

Friday, September 30
11:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday, October 1
11:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday, October 2
12:00pm to 6:00pm

Featured Artists

Maya Freelon Asante, Osi Audu,Victor Ekpuk, Nate Lewis, Julia Fernandez-Pol, Vonn Sumner & Charles Williams

‘Continuum’ an exhibition of paintings by CHARLES WILLIAMS

10 May

Check out this phenomenal installation snap shot of ‘Continuum’ an exhibition of paintings by CHARLES WILLIAMS on display in Charlotte, NC at Central Piedmont Community College’s Ross Gallery.

installationLost&Found_web

CHARLES WILLIAMS’ “Day Time” triptych arrives at Morton Fine Art

8 Mar

New oil on panel paints by artist CHARLES WILLIAMS. These new artworks are stunning, and the perfect complement to his “Nighttime” series which were included his September 2015 solo “Swim” at Morton Fine Art, in his traveling museum solo exhibitions, and at Aqua Art Miami.

 

CHARLES WILLIAMS, "Day Time 1", 12"x12", oil on panel

CHARLES WILLIAMS, “Day Time 1″, 12″x12”, oil on panel

 

CHARLES WILLIAMS, "Day Time 2", 12"x12", oil on panel

CHARLES WILLIAMS, “Day Time 2″, 12″x12”, oil on panel

CHARLES WILLIAMS, "Day Time 3", 12"x12", oil on panel

CHARLES WILLIAMS, “Day Time 3″, 12″x12”, oil on panel

 

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

Video trailer for CHARLES WILLIAMS upcoming exhibition at Central Piedmont Community College

4 Mar

Enjoy this trailer for CHARLES WILLIAMS upcoming solo exhibition at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC

 

 

Click here to view available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com

The Washington City Paper reviews Charles Williams’ ‘Swim’

15 Oct

Arts Desk

Charles Williams’ ‘Swim’ at Morton Fine Art, Reviewed

Lost and Found

You can be forgiven if your eye wanders in “Swim,” Charles Williams’ current solo show at Morton Fine Art. Between the clutter of the gallery and the works themselves—closely hung bursts of contrast in black and white—there is a lot to digest. But it’s impossible even for passersby to miss the centerpiece of the exhibition, Lost and Found #1, an immersive six-by-eight-foot canvas depicting frothy waves at night in photorealistic detail. The painting, mostly in black, simultaneously beckons and unnerves. 

Williams’s interest in water as a theme derives from his lifelong fear of swimming. He attributes the phobia both to his experience of nearly drowning at age 11 and to the racial stereotypes surrounding swimming that he faced growing up black in South Carolina. In the handful of fragmented self-portraits on view, Williams, who still doesn’t know how to swim, depicts himself variously in goggles, pool floaties, and wearing a towel draped over his head.

While the towel-as-hoodie is Williams’ most overt reference to the idea of swimming pools as sites of racial tension, race permeates the exhibition in other ways.  In some portraits Williams’ face floats disembodied, fracturing at its edges into individual brushstrokes in black and brown. It’s a literal deconstruction of the artist’s skin color—and the various tones and associations, including fear, that come with it.

The exploration of black is further developed in nearby paintings from theNighttime series, in which Williams has painted waves in a heavy black impasto over backgrounds of the same color. These smaller paintings, as well as the artist’s closely cropped monochrome seascapes on Mylar, deserve a closer look. Unfortunately, the installation gives them little room to breathe. Viewers are better off focusing on the large-scale work; the tide will carry you from there.

“Swim” runs until Oct. 13. 1781 Florida Ave. N.W.

Charles Williams, Lost and Found 1, 72″x 96,” oil on canvas, Courtesy of Morton Fine Art

CHARLES WILLIAMS’ “Swim” reviewed in Washington Post

13 Oct

 

the washington post logo

Museums
In the galleries: No day at the beach

Swim, 30"x30", oil on panel

A self-portrait by Charles Williams in the exhibit “Swim,” at Morton Fine Art. (Courtesy Charles Williams and Morton Fine Art)
By Mark Jenkins October 9 at 11:57 AM
In the self-portraits of “Swim,” Charles Williams presents himself in goggles and other aquatic paraphernalia, his muscles taut and his skin burnished. The South Carolina artist, however, isn’t bragging about his prowess in the water. He actually has a powerful fear of it, in part because of a childhood incident in which he nearly drowned. The three series gathered in this Morton Fine Arts show are quite different, but all address Williams’s fraught relationship with the sea.

The largest works are realistic paintings of yellow sand and frothy surf under night skies. These are based on photos Williams took while wading in the water and experiencing — the show’s catalogue reports — “shallow breaths, a quickened heartbeat and trembling hands.” That anxiety is not conveyed by the pictures, which are calm and precisely rendered, even if the blackness above the water does indicate that this is no day at the beach.

Even darker are the small oils of waves at nighttime, entirely in black. The water’s motion and contours are depicted entirely by line and texture, and visible only when the light hits at a suitable angle. These paintings resemble engravings and bas-relief sculptures.

Although Williams is no impressionist, the self-portraits are a bit looser than his large surf pictures. Most of them are painted on Mylar, which lacks the absorbency of canvas and thus gives a more immediate appearance. Sheer white, apparently representing harsh sunlight, obliterates areas of the image. These ephemeral qualities, however, are countered by the strength of the artist’s features and form. Even when the subject is simply water and air, Williams’s style always feels substantial.

Swim: Charles Williams On view through Oct. 13 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. http://www.mortonfineart.com.

 

Lost and Found 4, 72"x96", oil on mylar

Charles Williams. “Lost and Found 4.” (Courtesy Charles Williams and Morton Fine Art)