Tag Archives: Charlotte

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

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CHARLES WILLIAMS : Banishing Fear, Stereotypes through Waves of Paint in Charlotte Viewpoint

7 Jul

charlotte viewpoint

 

ARTS & CULTURE »

Banishing Fear, Stereotypes Through Waves of Paint

byJoshua Peters

June 7, 2015

Caption: Two paintings from Charles Williams’ Swim series.

There is a moment, a second before a frosty blue-green wall of Atlantic Ocean wave crashes over you, where your body braces — you close your eyes, pull your arms into yourself and take a deep breath. Then comes a crash, muffled turbulence and silence… followed by the re-emergence of warm sun and the slowly recognizable sounds of gulls, waves and beach.

For McColl Center Artist-In-Residence Charles Williams, these moments are the most sacred. When Williams was 11 years old, he joined his cousins for a family reunion in Myrtle Beach to play in the surf. His father forbid him to go, but he went anyway despite his sub-par swimming ability. Williams remembers the crash, muffled turbulence, and silence but not the warm sun, nor the familiar sounds of his cousins playing. A torrential rip current pulled him out to sea, and — unable to swim free — a helpless Williams would have drowned if his uncle and father had not arrived in time to rescue him.

Williams would go on to great things, including a stint at Savannah College of Art and Design and a successful career as a brand manager, designer and marketer.  Two things remained constant for him though: uneasiness around water, and dissatisfaction with his career path. In one bold stroke, though, Williams decided to confront both and recapture both his desire to be a painter and a deeply personal understanding of his own struggle with water, as well as the psychological barriers and bigotry associated with swimming and black youth.

“How we handle traumatic experiences,” says Williams, “both shapes and molds our identities.”

But his step away from the corporate creative world and into his own studio to confront these feelings has not impeded his success. His more recent achievements include participation in the Hudson River Landscape Fellowship, selection as a keynote speaker at CPCC’s Sensoria 2016, featured work in the Artists Magazines 28th Annual Art Competition, and honorable mention fromSouthwest Art magazine’s “21 Emerging Under 31” competition. Williams’ works have been shown inAmerican Art Collector, Empty Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand, Studio Visit, Bluecanvas and other national publications. He was recently interviewed on an NPR segment entitled “Nature through the Eyes of an Artist.” His contemporary landscapes have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in galleries in New York, Vermont, California, Georgia, South Carolina and other southeastern states, with more planned, including a featured place at Miami’s Art Basel 2015. His stay in Charlotte has brought him to a residency at the McColl Center for Arts + Innovation through August, with a show in the McColl’s galleries planned at some point during his stay.

The process of personal change is the primary focus of the summation of Williams work, his Swim series. Previously featured (all too appropriately) at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, Swim consists of eight (and counting) large oil paintings. These canvases are home to incredibly detailed, hyper-realistic seascapes. Painted from reference photographs taken by Williams himself, Swim represents the ocean at its most imposing or forbidding moments — before the crash of a wave, or at night, swallowed by darkness. Others capture the sea at its most beautiful, lightly foaming in shades of bronze and teal and washed in sunlight. Each composition is stunning in the most physical sense of the word. Williams’ compositions force the audience to stop, imparting the weight of the chest-deep ocean onto onlookers.

The sub-series Lost and Found features familiar South Carolina coastline at night. The first additions in this series are painted entirely in black. The waves are carved in striking ebony with a palette knife. Natural light plays off the raised texture imparted by the wet-on-wet process and the strokes of the palette knife, creating incredible visual depth and movement along the contours of the water’s surface. As the series continues, light breaks through into the compositions, seemingly lit only by Williams’ lone flashlight and the flash from his camera. The yellow aura from the flashlight bleeds through the bristling water and out into complete darkness. Williams’ use of compositional whitespace highlights the simple, powerful beauty of the ocean but encloses it in a suffocating field of darkness. Every canvas is a confrontation between the artist and his fear on a grand scale, the light pushing back terrible dread.

Aesthetically, his work is impossibly beautiful — individual bubbles rise from fields of foam sitting atop murky ocean. It’s easy to mistake his canvases for the photographs they reference. There is a captivating spectrum present across Swim, between complete darkness and stark daylight. Sky gracefully frames an ocean depicted with great reverence and respect, and at the same time an immutable uncertainty — a fear that can’t help but make its way through Williams’s brush strokes to the onlooker.

But Williams, has more planned for his audience than a glimpse into his phobia and striking waves. “These paintings serve as a personal testimony of my decision to begin a journey toward freedom,” he says. He stresses the importance of his paintings going beyond just inspiring awe, but moreover an understanding of embedded social racism surrounding aquaphobia and the inability to swim. Williams hopes that Swim marks not only a pivotal point in his own life — a step closer to defeating a fear that has robbed him of his own freedom — but a step closer to stemming the tide of institutionalized racism.

Link to the article: http://www.charlotteviewpoint.org/article/3403/CharlesWilliamsSwimSeries

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

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

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

Charles Williams’ beautiful struggle in the Charlotte Agenda

30 Jun

 

charlotte agenda

Charles Williams’ beautiful struggle

“Be careful Charles. Don’t go jumping waves with your cousins” Charles’ father called from the picnic area.

But the boys raced down to the edge of the shore anyway. The sea spray felt cool on their skin as they leapt through the first knee high swells and continued wading into the surf, splashing and laughing in the summer heat. Each successive wave brought with it more laughter as the boys tempted fate and cooled their noon baked skin. The last wave rose up in front of the boys, continuing to grow as it gained momentum, when it reached its peak, it paused, towering over their heads. The wind caught the crest of the wave, spraying a mist of salt water across the sky and creating a shimmering rainbow in the stillness. The boys yelled in anticipation as the full weight of the water came crashing down around them, forcing them under, and tossing them off their feet in a roaring wash of salt, sand and foam.

Then everything was dark.

His cousins popped up laughing exuberantly, wiping the salt out of their eyes and squinting against the glare of the bright afternoon sun. Charles was nowhere to be seen. He would come to, several minutes later, with his father and uncle anxiously leaning over him. Charles sputtered, then coughed. His father smiled with relief and held the breathing boy close, Charles Williams was alive.

There would be several more drowning scares as the years stacked up, and Charles’ fear of the ocean would remain strong, while some other urge kept drawing him to the water. It is this dichotomy, the fear and the attraction, that makes Charles Williams‘ paintings, now on display at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation where Charles is currently an artist-in-residence, so alluring.

“The thing that moves me the most about Charles Williams’ vision is his focus on fear and overcoming that fear.” says Mitchell Kearney, Image Maker.

charles-williams

Fear can be a funny thing. At times it is paralyzingly obvious, but on the whole, fear tends to be more insidious. Hiding in plain sight, rarely acknowledged, but insinuating itself into every decision, tainting every dream with a shadow of anxiety.

Charles is no stranger to fear, he has confronted and overcome it numerous times throughout his life. Like the time he decided to use his artistic talents to pay for college instead of taking the easier route and simply working a part-time job.

“My dad told me ‘I don’t want you to work at McDonald’s or the Grocery Store, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I want you to figure out a way to use your talent.’”

And that is exactly what Charles did, from displaying his art on any shelf in town that would have him, to selling out galleries. Or when he left a successful career as a graphic designer, having won industry awards and made a name for himself, to whole heartedly embrace his passion as an artist. Charles knows what it feels like to be afraid and uncertain at the crossroads of life. He knows what it is to have the hopes and dreams of a community resting on his shoulders. And through all of the progressions; professionally, personally and artistically, the fear of the water still remains.

Yet Charles has always been drawn to the water. He has lived by the water all of his life, and most recently moved with his wife to Charlotte from James Island, where they lived near the beach for the past four years.

Every day…every single day, Charles would go down to the seaside and watch the waves. He would take photographs of the water, analyze the currents, dissect the combination of light and texture, dimension and fluidity within the tides, and see, really see the ocean. See it in all of its color and majesty, all of its power and awe. That “seeing” was Charles’ way of embracing his fear. He is not ashamed to acknowledge his weakness, or embody his desire to overcome it, and in the process produce breathtaking works of art.

charles-williams

“For his recent exhibition, “Swim,” Charles Williams creates powerful and mesmerizing images of the sea. This force of nature becomes a metaphor for other potentially threatening emotional and societal undertows that must be navigated with courage and skill. An accomplished artist, Williams will continue to probe topics that need further dialogue.” says Carla Hanzal, an Independent Curator.

Charles has channeled his fear of swimming to create some of the most realistic paintings of the Atlantic Ocean I have ever seen. His canvasses are larger than life. Looking at Charles’ renderings of waves curling and thrashing with each other inspires awe and fear.

“All of the works that were in the exhibition, I wanted them to be large…I wanted you to feel like you were there, and doing them small would not have captured the essence of the emotional tie that I have to not being able to swim.” says Charles.

The ocean demands those feelings, commands your respect, and that intensity is palpable in Charles’ paintings. Mother Nature is awesome, in the true and original sense of the word, and fear is not an inappropriate feeling to have when in her grasp.

The depth of Charles’ paintings, the texture of the water, the interplay of light and color, is so realistic you feel like you are in the trough of a swell. On the east coast there are no waves without foam. And if you have ever been to the coasts of North or South Carolina, you know our waters are not crystal clear, or even blue. They are a rolling, roiling, turbulent color that alludes to the sand and life churning just beneath the surface, and they are always covered in foam. Charles captures the essence of our coastal waters with a unique honesty and vivid realism.

“I paint like a water colorist…but I work wet on wet so the cool thing is that I like to scrub out…. so you get all of those layers shining through… which gives it that glow.” Charles says of his particular process for finding the colors to make his portraits of the sea so incredibly life like.

Charles has big things on the horizon. As he continues his journey and faces his fear of the water, he plans to document his progress with photos and video, using these images to tell his story. Charles is currently working on pieces for his upcoming shows, as an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, where he will be through early August.

That means we, as Charlotteans, have the rare opportunity to not only experience Charles’ realistic and imposing paintings of the sea, but to witness the craft and skill by which he brings the ocean into his studio. Stop in, take a few minutes to appreciate the dynamic beauty of his work, and talk with a man who is determined to better himself.

A link to the article: http://www.charlotteagenda.com/5999/charles-williams-beautiful-struggle/

Please contact Morton Fine Art for available work by artist CHARLES WILLIAMS.

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

(202) 628-2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

CHARLES WILLIAMS – McColl Center for Art + Innovation Summer 2015

29 Apr

charles williams web

 

Contact MORTON FINE ART for available artwork by CHARLES WILLIAMS.

(202) 628-2787

mortonfineart@gmail.com

http://www.mortonfineart.com