Just Above Sunset
July 24, 2005 - Through Prehensile Eyes

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I don’t much care for this sort of thing, but our columnist Bob Patterson wanted to see this show at the Otis College of Art and Design down by the airport, and listen to this fellow's talk, and Bob needed a ride, so I found myself there with the Nikon.  I left after a few minutes, leaving Bob to what he likes.  If you read the prose below, you'll see I'm an elitist snob.  As I always thought Salvador Dali was vastly overrated, except as a self-promoting showboat, so with this guy, "the logical American heir to the surrealist movement in general." 


But Williams does do good things with '32 Fords.


The show?


May 21-July 30, 2005
Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes
A solo exhibition of paintings, drawings, and hot rods curated by Meg Linton and funded in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance


          Mat Gleason:


Some artists carve a path of independence amidst the confining tendencies of the greater art world. Robert Williams has constructed a superhighway. His hallucinatory landscapes are the logical American heir to the surrealist movement in general, and approach the iconic status of its Spanish master Salvador Dali - still one of the most recognized artists worldwide despite elitist attempts to scour away his talent, accomplishments and legacy.

As Dali ran afoul of the art market economy with a smiling apathy toward the sale of forgeries of his prints, so too does a rambunctious Williams thumb his nose at the fetish for narrowcasting among today's contemporary institutional visual arts powers that be. Williams' deep involvement in the inclusive publication "Juxtapoz" runs counter to the impulse of institutions to weed out artists on the periphery in order to clean up their stale stories of art history.


Williams' American surrealist paintings are layered and frenzied landscapes populated with wickedly absurd pathologies masquerading as characters allegorically dancing in nightmare imagery for our delight or repulsion. His beginnings in the world of hot rods and comic books provide a street credibility that functions as an insurance policy toward his reputation: his detailed, labor intensive, hard-hitting work can never be too neatly ensconced in an art history that lauds the ephemeral doodles of the cultural elite; yet the deans of the ultimate leisure class cannot ignore the millions of dollars that his paintings have earned him, nor the status they bequeath. So which of these is the most offensive to the establishment: Williams' success as an artist? The accessibility of his imagery? His tendency to render heroic outlaw behavior as a logic inherent in the human animal? Or is it his equally deep devotion to the craft of painting and the science of perfect (yet inspired) rendering? …


Gleason sounds a bit defensive, doesn't he?


A painting –

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

Hot Rods –

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

The Real World –

Robert Williams: Through Prehensile Eyes

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.   Note: To see an actual-size high-resolution version of a particular photograph, click on the image.  You will see the full image in a separate window.  These were shot with a Nikon D70 – lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70mm 1:35-4.5G ED.





Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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