The Fire This Time New work by North Carolina artist, Antoine Williams


Nov 30, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017
10:00 AM until 06:00 PM


Something entirely fictitious and true, that creeps across your path hallowing your evil ways.

– Amiri Baraka


Antoine Williams' art practice is an investigation of his cultural identity through the exploration of societal signs as they relate to institutional inequities. He has created a mythology, which has become a narrative catalogue of loosely autobiographical humanoid beings that personify the complexities of perception, which can affect race, class, and masculinity. His artwork is heavily influenced by science fiction literature from such authors as Octavia Butler and H.G. Wells. Themes in science fiction can be analogous to the Black experience in America. Therefore, the artist has created a world of beings that personify the complexity within hierarchies of power in everyday life. These figures manifest as mixed-­media installations, paintings, drawings, and collage.


These entities reference the Dadaists, who appropriated and re-­contextualized images from society in order to create “anti-­‐art”. Namely Hans Arp, who considered the destruction of “signs” as a subversive act. The signs Antoine Williams is interested in are tropes associated with the Black body within the American psyche. 


In the vein of Felix Gonzales-­‐Torres, Antoine Williams has a concern for making the personal, public. These beings (which are nameless) are inspired by personal experiences from a rural working class, upbringing, in Red Springs, North Carolina that related to wider contemporary concerns. Inspired by the Amiri Baraka poem “Something in the Way of Things”, these beings live in the intangible spaces that exist between the nuances of class and race. They are both born of and perpetuate the actions and thought processes due to social reproduction. They exist in an abstracted purgatory.




Image credit (image attached): Antoine Williams, "Untitled", ink on paper, 2016



For additional information about this exhibition or to receive high resolution digital images for publication, please contact Cathy McLaurin  or  at 978-685-2343.


The Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery is located on the first floor of Essex Art Center

Gallery Hours: M-F  10-6

Closed: November 10 and 22-24

FREE and open to the public

Essex Art Center, 56 Island St., Lawrence, MA  01840




View map Essex Art Center
56 Island Street
Lawrence, MA

Additional Information


Essex Art Center



Contact name

Cathy McLaurin

Contact email

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

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