Tag Archives: “Swim: An Artist’s Journey”

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

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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’ 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

 

CHARLES WILLIAMS “Swim” in South Strand News

30 Jan

Sink or swim: Georgetonian conquers fears through his artwork

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Show More

“In Seconds No. 4” by Charles E. Williams

Photos

Charles Williams is getting nervous. He grips his hands tighter together while he talks, causing his knuckles to whiten. His voice lowers and his speech slows. If one were to look closely, they may see a bead of sweat or two appear on his brow.

He’s talking about swimming, or rather his inability to swim, as he stands amongst four huge six-foot-by-six-foot paintings of the ocean.

The works are his, on display at the Franklin G. Burroughs — Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach in an exhibition titled “Swim: An Artist’s Journey.”

“This is me trying to look at what’s causing my fear. The water is alluring but deadly, and it has these human characteristics. Water has always been an intricate part of my pieces,” Williams said. “…For viewers, I’m just using swimming to represent me, but this is also for others to look at their fears and make steps toward becoming better individuals.”

For Williams, that journey, and his fear of water, started when the Georgetown native was 11 years old.

“When I was 11, I was taken under. I was jumping the waves with my cousin at the state park in Myrtle Beach,” he remembers.

From that point forward, the fear of water had a tight grip on Williams, causing him to have what he calls “accidents” every time he ventured into the water in the future.

The accidents – near drownings and panic attacks in the water – have continued all of Williams’ life, since the incident when he was 11 years old, to the swimming lessons he failed in high school, up to three years ago, the most recent event, when he had a panic attack after finding he couldn’t touch the bottom of a swimming pool.

“Swim” is an attempt to tackle his fears, and his next step in finally learning to swim.

His original idea for an exhibition at the museum was a bit different, but it evolved after museum staff asked him to make the works more personal.

“I thought this would be a good time to be brave enough to do a few water paintings. It was therapeutic in a way,” Williams said. “I love a challenge, and this is a life challenge for me.”

The exhibition opened on Jan. 15 and will close at the museum on April 23.

“It was a packed house,” Williams said of the opening. “I was really surprised and grateful.”

The crowd included friends, family, sponsors, collectors and even “people from high school when I was selling my work in Georgetown to raise money for college at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design),” he said.

He first attended Georgetown High, but finished his degree at Carvers Bay High. In 2006 he graduated from SCAD and worked in graphic design briefly before becoming a fulltime painter in 2008.

Williams has had several solo exhibitions in Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Charleston; has been a part of 25 group exhibitions in cities across the U.S. including Atlanta, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.; and has won 11 awards and fellowships for his work.

“Swim” is a collection of 48 oil works – eight six-foot canvas paintings and 40 smaller studies, 30 of the daytime and 10 of nighttime. It took him eight months to complete them.

Standing next to the canvas works, Williams is almost as tall as they are.

“I even feel like these are too small,” he said. “I wanted to paint them as large as I could. It goes back to the person experiencing what I fear. I wanted the pieces to take over you.”

The exhibition is held in three rooms, which Williams described as a “cinematic spectrum from day to night.”

The first room is brightly lit and shows four canvas works titled “In Seconds.” Each shows a progression of the experience of drowning; from No. 1 to No. 4, the viewer is above the water, at the cusp of being under water, completely engulfed under water, and lastly drowning.

“In Seconds No. 4” depicts an 11-year-old Williams floating beneath the surface of the water.

“No. 4 is a significant piece. You know how people talk about dying and seeing the white light? Well I saw it,” Williams said. “I wanted this to reflect the idea of the white light. It’s warm, full of life, and this is me in a sort of ‘letting go’ pose.”

The center room features the study pieces, which are smaller works on paper and canvas.

The studies, which feature day and night images, lead into the final room that houses all four “Lost and Found” paintings.

Williams explains the works, which show portions of the ocean illuminated by light, surrounded by darkness: “Psychologically, I wanted to go back into my mind with a flashlight and find the monster. As a kid, I was also afraid of the dark, so this also helped me show, ‘Hey, I can tackle this fear.’”

Ocean sounds are playing in all of the rooms, which only adds to the feeling of becoming Williams, and he said the effect is particularly important in the “Lost and Found” room.

“I wanted to mimic what you can’t see,” he said, “and yet you can hear the sound of the water.”

To accomplish the effect, he used a flashlight and camera at the beach at night to gather images for inspiration. The lights in the room also mirror the experience, with dim lighting in the center and one spotlight aimed at each piece to mimic where the artist’s flashlight would have been.

Williams’ journey of exploration also took him beyond case studies and into research. It’s a stereotype that most blacks can’t swim, but the artist wanted to know more details. His research revealed that each year, for every one white child who dies from drowning, two to three black children die from it.

“In a way, I would like ‘Swim’ to be an awareness too. … I think it comes down to parents, and how they view the importance of swimming as a survival mechanism,” he said.

Williams called the experience “surreal” to have his first museum show at home along the Atlantic Ocean, a sentiment similar to making money from conquering his fears. Each of the larger canvases has a $10,000 price tag attached.

“As an artist, we already make a living off of putting ourselves out there,” Williams said. “I would encourage all artists to explore learning about themselves and illustrating that. It lets everyone see them innocently.”

Does the 31-year-old consider himself brave for conquering the project?

“Hell yeah, brave in many ways. I took a year off of working for commercial galleries to invest the time, research and process to create these,” Williams said, “but it was all worth it and I would do it again. And I will do it again.”

With a little less enthusiasm, but the same determination, he said the same of swimming: “I still fear the water, but this is my first step toward learning how to swim.”

CHARLES WILLIAMS solo at The Franklin G. Burroughs‑Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum

13 Jan

A huge congratulations to MFA artist CHARLES WILLIAMS for his first museum solo exhibition!

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January 15th – April 23rd, 2015

“Swim: An Artist’s Journey” solo exhibition at The Franklin G. Burroughs‑Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC.

What was once hidden is now an open artistic diary of Charles Williams’ fearful journey.

 A native of Georgetown, SC, Charles Williams continues to explore the nuances of his emotional relationship with water — this time investigating thoughts, emotions and experiences from the past, so that what was once hidden has now become an artistic public journal for viewers to co-explore his ocean phobia. His solo exhibit Swim: An Artist’s Journey captures the essence of his ever-morphing aqua obsession with hauntingly personal and hyper-real 6’+ oil paintings placed strategically to surround and engulf, bringing the viewer face-to-face and into the ocean. Utilizing cinematic elements of sight and sound, the exhibit experience is intended to evoke the sensation of being in water.

Known for his contemporary landscapes, Williams shows his sensitivity by exposing his journey from fear to freedom through the visual poetry of these works. Personal sequential experiences imbued with the cultural influences of living on the southeastern coast and actualized on canvas will be offered as this artist’s diary of his fearful obsession with water.

Seen in the American Art Collector, and Professional Artist Magazine for his 2012 show entitled “In Thought,” as well as other various internet and art publications. Other publications follow the rising artist with features and previews in the Artist Magazine, Studio Visit, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand Magazine, Empty Magazine, Escape into Life, the Oxford, Southwest Art and more.

Swim: An Artist’s Journey will be presented in January 2015 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC.

 

About Charles Williams 

Charles Williams is a professional contemporary realist painter from Georgetown, South Carolina and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. Utilizing oils for the basis of landscapes, each painting captures his reflection of human emotions in response to and in sync with the natural environment. Recent achievements and awards include a Hudson River Landscape Fellowship, featured work in the Artist’s Magazine’s 28th Annual Art Competition, honorable mention from Southwest Art Magazine’s 21 Emerging Under 31 competition, 2012 Winner of the Fine Art Category from Creative Quarterly, 2013 selected artist for 28th Positive Negative juried art exhibition at East Tennessee State University, juror/curated by Michael Ray Charles from PBS Art 21, one of 25 selected artists for the 2012 Dave Bown Project in Chicago, juried/curated by Karl Hecksher, owner K5 Editions, New York, Andrea Karnes, curator at Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Mary Kate O’Hare, curator at American Art, Newark Museum, 2ndBluecanvas Publication international competition, “Environments” and featured cover artist of Composite and Professional Artist Magazine. Williams’ works has been shown in American Art Collector, Empty Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Grand Strand, Studio Visit, Bluecanvas and other national publications. He was interviewed and broadcast on ETV/ NPR station on September 3, 2012, entitled: Nature Through the Eyes of an Artist. He recently received the 2014 Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Award from the State of South Carolina for development of enriching art programs within local communities.

His contemporary landscapes have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in galleries in New York, Vermont, California, and several other southeastern states and now are represented by Robert Lange Studios and Morton Fine Art.

Please contact Morton Fine Art for artwork availability.

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787