P·P·O·W isis pleased to present Robin Williams’ first solo exhibition, Rescue Party. Through a series of eleven paintings, Williams reveals a surreal world inhabited by adolescents of ambiguous gender that are on the brink of discovery or revelation. Each painting has a distinct narrative but with no specific conclusion. There is a sense of pause in each work which heightens the sense of the impending chance for change. Williams is able to achieve this surreal timelessness through her painting techniques. While at once employing traditional painting methods, she is also experimental and intuitive. Her use of color, light, texture and composition are all used to explore painting as a medium and to link this to the conceptual content within each work.
Represented through her adolescent subjects, Williams examines the internal phase of development that takes place during young adulthood. These youths inhabit a liminal state of being; they are often stranded, Hopperesque figures, posing in their costumes, hoping their visage will evince an inner truth. Tired Prince is one such adolescent. He is at once regal but absurd, and bravely self-aware. Each of her characters is seeking a sense of identity, safety, and well-being. Some choose to wait for rescue, while others willfully adopt a persona hoping it will lead them toward salvation.
Most of the characters are either engaged in antiquated tasks or playing a form of dress-up, as in Milking or Yellow Hat. Throughout, their expressions are half-aware, far off stares of grief, reminiscent of George Tooker’s work. In Rescue Party many possess this stare but there is also hope in this distant gaze. This painting, which pulls from art historical references such as Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, transforms the raft into a kiddie pool and although it is staged in a banal vacancy of surrounding and gesture, there is a sense of hope and possibility. Each of Williams’ subjects is searching for meaning. Whether it is through history, habit, or nostalgia, each is seeking an answer and they will endeavor in the absurd or the useless until it is revealed.
Robin Williams was born in 1984 and received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006. She has had solo and group exhibitions at: Space 414, Brooklyn, NY, Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, NY, Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, NY. She was the Brooklyn Academy of Music Spring 2009 Playbill Artist and has had work in Scope Miami and SEVEN Miami.