CANADA is pleased to announce “Uncle Big” a solo exhibition of new paintings by Michael Williams.
Puzzle pieces fracture and reconnect the images of daily life in many of these paintings, as if the artist is daydreaming strange situations into existence. A cat trotting across an electric ping–pong table, trees that writhe with the intensity of super natural beings, and a veiny paintbrush popping through a canvas. All of this belongs to Michael Williams’s far out vision.
In another painting a lobster (already boiled) and his buddy the clam are nervously looking at the web with the computer screen coyly turned from our view… checking out recipes for butter sauce perhaps? Behind them wooden floor planks recede into a corner of the canvas. Williams gets more mileage out of wood grain than any other painter working today. The globulated surfaces are full of many moods and manner of paint handling, performing the time-honored modernist tradition of reminding the viewer of the inherent falseness of the picture plane.
Michael Williams’s paintings are investigations into seeing and being seen. To Williams seeing is an imaginative and experimental act, both inward and outwardly expressive. In one painting a paintbrush observes another (curvier) paintbrush while a myriad of “shadows” are cast across the scene by multiple light sources. The image is both disconcerting and deeply sympathetic.
Williams’s paintings ask us to notice the little things, like the vents on a computer monitor and just how WEIRD they are. Seeing is lauded as something we do, as something that happens and ultimately as something that has transformational power. This sense, added to his intensely tactile surfaces, tightly interlocking forms, and saturated colors make Williams’s paintings psychological in the most playfully tender way.
At the same time Williams has a respect for the tradition of painting, or at least a curiosity in it. The paintings in “Uncle Big” operate as both utterly and completely finished and as lightly touched skeletons. They are full of chromatic painterly excess and wandering doodley patches of paint. The tension between image and abstraction is clear.
Michael Williams was born in 1978 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He has had solo exhibitions at Galleri Christina Wilson, Copenhagen; The Green Gallery, Milwaukee; and Perugi ArteContemporanea, Padova, Italy. “Uncle Big” is Williams’s second solo show with CANADA. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.