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Strong, Colorful Surreal Paintings by Philemona Williamson at June Kelly Gallery
Philemona Williamson, Sunday Picnic, 2010. Oil on linen, 48 x 60 inches. Photo: Courtesy June Kelly Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Fractured Tales, an exhibition of new paintings by Philemona Williamson — strong, colorful surreal narratives that both unsettle and delight -- opened at the June Kelly Gallery, on November 12. The exhibition will remain on view until December 14.

Williamson injects the edginess of imagination, memory and mystery in her examination of life stages between adolescence and adulthood. She brings intrigue into the daily human drama of searching for identity and constancy, and her figures abound with restless energy and uncertainty.

Williamson says she thinks of her paintings more as an ongoing rearrangement of dreams. And because of the difficulty of making dreams a reality, her figures must juggle, contort, cajole and always be in competition.

Williamson is fascinated with the innocence and wonder of pubescent youth and its inevitable progression toward adulthood. In Fractured Tales, her figures’ energetic physical evolutions and interactions suggest foreboding and impulsive mayhem. She uses literal bits and pieces such as toppling cupcakes, someone falling on cracked ice, doll heads apart from torsos and the ambiguity of masked faces to imply unguarded, irrepressible upsets to universal supposed order.

Williamson’s paintings recognize the searching, the alienation and the commonplace tempests encountered in the growth to maturity. Her new work – spirited in its imagery, color, movement and brushwork -- demonstrates her understanding of the critical reality that life by design at any stage has unpredictable fractures.

Williamson, a native New Yorker, received a bachelor's degree from Bennington College and a master’s degree in painting from New York University. In 1997, she was awarded a prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation grant.

Her work has been shown in many one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, including the IV Bienal Internacional de Pintura en Cuenca, Ecuador, in 1994. She is represented in numerous private and public collections, including The Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; Hampton University Museum, VA; Mott-Warsh Art Collection, Flint MI; Reader's Digest Art Collection and AT&T.

Williamson’s commissions include “Seasons,” 18 fused-glass panels for the MTA’s Art in Transit program at the Livonia subway station in Brooklyn, and “Folktales from Around the World,” four glass mosaic murals for the New York City Board of Education at the Glen Oaks Campus School, Queens.

June Kelly Gallery | "Fractured Tales" | Philemona Williamson |

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