GBGLA is pleased to present the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition of work by Sarah Williams. The exhibition features the artist’s newest body of oil paintings and continues through May 8th.
We are both the product of and creator of our environs. Over time, ways of life shape and define us and we, in turn, shape our spaces which then shape our memories and histories. Strong emotions can be prompted by a place. Sarah Williams is drawn to structures that show the character acquired over those long histories and to the emotional ties we feel to these places we are connected to through our personal histories. She has spent years trying to capture rural Midwestern identity but she is also interested in finding ways to give a sense of perspective for her understanding of these small rural areas in Missouri.
Taking herself out of the “home” environment and applying her way of visually exploring another locale was the next step in expanding her work. Before the pandemic, Williams did an artist residency in Key West, FL. This new body of work came out of that experience and is about the similarities and differences between that region and what she recognizes as her “home” in Missouri.
Williams writes of her work, “I love seeing how people from other regions and backgrounds relate to my work. I’m finding the more specific I can be, the more universal the work somehow becomes. I hope my work allows people to think about where they come from and take pride in the collective identity of their home region.”
Williams is drawn to light sources and the play of light on surfaces. This lead her to paint nightscapes of these familiar yet isolated and unremarkable buildings and scenes in rural areas. She uses the darkness to edit out extraneous information and provide the viewer with the essence of the place.
While Williams’ paintings are representational, she fractures the form and accentuates the light through her unique painting technique. Working wet on wet in oil, Williams accentuates the luminous glow of the lights and creates these velvety fields of color. The final effect is both inviting and eerily mysterious at the same time.
The viewer starts to unravel the mood of the painting not only with the primary area of focus, but through the combination of the secondary and even tertiary areas of focus. In much the same way our eyes adjust to the dark, upon deeper inspection, the viewer finds more details shrouded in darkness in the distance in Williams’ work. Using this nuanced visual language, Williams transforms the common place and makes the insignificant significant and in so doing, creates paintings that are mysterious, slightly familiar and hauntingly beautiful.
Sarah Williams received her MFA in 2009 from University of North Texas and has been exhibiting widely across the U.S. She has received many awards, including Purchase Award from UNT's Art in Public Places in 2009 and a Hunting Art Prize Finalist in 2010. She has exhibited and participated in a panel for the Dallas Contemporary’s Here, There & Beyond, and recently completed an artist-in-residence program in Vermont. Williams exhibited at the Galveston Arts Center, and had a solo exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in 2010.
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