UD painting Professor Peter Williams will exhibit at Cressman Center for Visual Arts AT THE University of Louisville, February 7 - March 2020.
In the work on display, Williams threads historical conditions of black
incarceration—the middle passage, slavery, and escape—through current
modes of black incarceration—prison, cultural appropriation, and the
legacy effects of redlining. These “political” threads compose the
support for a similar kind of painterly weaving, one in which the artist
elaborates on the modernist grid and various compositional inventions
like the flatting of the picture plane and expressionistic use of line
and color. Thus, for example, a ship carrying slaves across the middle
passage is also a cruise ship holding prisoners of a different sort.
This, in turn, serves as the support for Williams’ investigation of
“dot” painting technique, gridding, and framing (Voyage, Then and Now,
2019). Williams’ paintings are, in this way, not about incarceration,
they are about painting—but also about painting from a particular racial
position and thus never “about” anything else. In this way too the work
can be at once heartbreaking and funny, critical and nonsensical. It is
both committed in its politics and radical in its composition.