In Memory of: Peter Williams (Black Artist) March 18, 1952 to August 19, 2021 #peterwilliams #artist #painter

The Artists’ Legacy Foundation described his work as thus: “For more than four decades, Williams has created artworks that explore contemporary culture, racism, police brutality, incarceration, environmentalism, and voyeurism through an approachable visual style. His paintings encourage the viewer to look deeply at the canvas for clues and insight about the Black experience. For example, pattern and distortion represent the conditions and circumstances that disrupt Black lives. Defying categorization, his painting style incorporates varying levels of abstraction, figuration, narrative, and iconographic elements. He draws inspiration from posters, comics, and the vibrant colors of city life.”

Eve Aschheim has written that “Peter Williams is a unique and unpredictable voice on the scene. He is one of the most poignant artists of our time to address themes of race and politics, and his raw, edgy work risks making the viewer uncomfortable, and resists assimilation into the decorum of the art world. His outstanding paintings transcend categories, as he forges realism, fantasy, cartooning, bold color, symbols, personal iconography, humor, and the news to unforgettable effect.” Wikipedia

Williams was born in 1952, in Nyack, New York, and earned a B.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. At 17, he was given his first solo show, at the Pat Merenstein Gallery in Nyack, which led to more shows in the region, including one at the Woodstock Music Festival.

A car accident during a college trip to New Mexico led to the loss of one leg; he had lifelong pain. He cited the trauma as a major influence on his practice, in particular the use of a recurring cast of characters as means to tell stories of hardship and triumph.

Williams was known as a passionate mentor and had recently retired from from the fine arts department at the University of Delaware, which he joined following a 17-year tenure at Wayne State University. His many accolades include the Artists’ Legacy Foundation’s 2020 Artist Award and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Williams’ paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Whitney Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among other institutions. His work appeared in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and the 2017 edition of the Prospect New Orleans triennial, and examples are slated to appear in a solo show at Luis De Jesus next year. Art News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: