Michael Williams Solitaire 2007 oil on canvas 38" x 58"
Michael Williams Cave 2007 oil on canvas 38" x 58"
Michael Williams Loddie oil on canvas 24" x 35"
Michael Williams Starry Night 2 2007 oil on canvas 38" x 58"
Michael Williams Cancuned 2007 oil on canvas 38" x 58"
Artists like this drive some people crazy. They can't figure out the difference between what he does and what they think they can do. I won't pretend I could explain it even to myself, but I won't question the difference is there when it's expressed as proudly as it is in Michael Williams's gorgeous, eccentric and absolutely delightful new oils.
We should all be able to approach color like this every day, as if it had just been invented. We should also be able to draw the world described by that color as he draws it here - like we had just been born and had opened our eyes for the first time.
Canada gallery is currently showing ten recent paintings by Williams in its handsome, newly-enlarged space on Chrystie Street. Before Saturday, when I visited this show, I had basically seen only one work by Williams, and Barry and I bought it a few hours later. If we had deeper pockets we'd be bringing home a companion for our "At Mr. McCook's" when this show ends November 18, but now that so many others can see and share in what excited us last winter that might be a little selfish.
I really like these paintings. They're a sheer delight on every level, and I can't stop looking at them. Part of it may be my affection, one I think I share with this Rhode Island artist, for the nonconformist New England character and aesthetic. There's also the reminder that I wasn't around when the Impressionists, the Post-Impressionists and the Abstractionists first made their impact, and I still want to be surprised, and stirred. Looking at the elements of Williams's floors, walls and skies and I can appreciate what it must have been like to be shown, say, a work by Van Gogh in 1890.
The colorful dabs and waves, the details, which enrich so much of the surface of these paintings are not just dabs and waves, details and surfaces; they're building blocks creating something quite new, and I'm glad I'm here this time to watch it happen.