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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Essex Art Center
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