George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s third solo exhibition of work by Sarah Williams. The exhibition features the artist’s newest body of photorealist oil paintings and continues through February 17th.
Strong emotions can be prompted by a place. Over time, ways of life shape and define the people and the spaces in which they live. Williams is drawn to areas and structures that show character acquired from the history and memory of the people that formed that environment. Aesthetically she is interested in light sources and the play of light on surfaces. This led her to paint nightscapes of familiar yet isolated and unremarkable buildings, rooms and scenes located in rural areas close to her home. She uses darkness to edit out extraneous information and provide the viewer with the essence of the place. Portraying these settings as nightscapes allows Williams to convey the emotional tone of the painting. The viewer’s location is not specifically implied because of the light source within the paintings. They must find their own way and decide their own approach when out in the rural night depicted in these works.
While Williams renders her subject in a representational manner, she likes to fracture the form and accentuate the light through brushwork. This approach makes these settings visually captivating and eerily mysterious at the same time. The viewer starts to unravel the mood of the painting not only with the primary area of focus, but through the combination of the secondary and even tertiary areas of focus. A viewer’s eyes must adjust so they will be able to see these subtle nuances that complete the character of the place. The artistic language applied to slightly familiar yet hauntingly isolated areas permits her to transform the common place and make the insignificant significant.
Sarah Williams received her MFA in 2009 from University of North Texas and has been exhibiting widely across the U.S. She has received many awards, including Purchase Award from UNT's Art in Public Places in 2009 and a Hunting Art Prize Finalist in 2010. She has exhibited and participated in a panel for the Dallas Contemporary’s Here, There & Beyond, and recently completed an artist-in-residence program in Vermont. Williams exhibited at the Galveston Arts Center, and had a solo exhibition at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in 2010.