Michael Williams, an exhibition of new paintings and a series of drawings, opened April 21, 2017 at Carnegie Museum of Art
. The exhibition is the 78th installment in the museums Forum Series. Featuring a suite of new paintings and a series of drawings, the presentation is Williamss first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
Over the last 10 years, Michael Williams has created paintings known for their layered imagery, eye-popping color, and use of techniques such as airbrushing and inkjet printing. His large-scale works often begin as drawings either on paper or on the computer screen before they are printed or transferred to canvas and then embellished with oil paint. The narrative content of Williamss work reveals his dark sense of humor and exploration of the role of the painter as observer. Three large canvases in the exhibition, for example, develop from the same scene from one of the artists drawings: a student seated in a classroom daydreaming about lacrosse during a lecture about global warming. Williamss wickedly funny allegories merge with abstract painting and amoebic shapes, which sometimes fill the entirety of his canvases. The resulting works offer the eye a dense and absorbing terrain of color and form. Pushing his experiments with a large-scale latex printer one step further, Williams also presents two paintings that are wholly printed in contrast to his works in oil paint.
Upstairs in CMOAs Scaife Galleries, which house the museums collection, a satellite installation of Williamss puzzle drawings reveals a different aspect of the artists process. Since 2010, Williams has traveled with photocopies of his own drawings. While on the road, he cuts up and collages these copies to make new works on paper. The rough outline of a jigsaw puzzle piece is a consistent motif in the ongoing series; Williams also uses it as a tool for pure visual invention. Creating gaps in his preexisting imagery, the puzzle shape allows him to discover new forms of abstraction between recognizable things.
Michael Williams is organized by Eric Crosby, Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Carnegie Museum of Art.
Michael Williams was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in 1978 and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2000. Since that time, he has exhibited widely at institutions and venues in North America and Europe. In recent years, he has presented solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Gladstone Gallery, Brussels; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; CANADA, New York; VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin; and Michael Werner Gallery, London. Additionally, his work has been featured in notable group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas; Secession, Vienna; and the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow. Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.