Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce Peter Williams: River of Styx, the artist's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, to be presented from October 20 through December 15, 2018. An artist's reception will be held on Saturday, October 20th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
Even as some voices are routinely silenced, Peter Williams acknowledges that it is a privilege to speak and be seen. Bearing witness to the times in which we live while honoring the lives and history of people of color, Williams' new paintings build on four decades of his radical oeuvre with a renewed sense of urgency, defiantly calling out the violence and injustices that continue to be perpetrated against Black Americans and giving voice to those who stand up against hatred, corruption, and criminality.
Taking its name from the Greek mythological goddess and the River Styx, the river that forms a border between Hades and the world of the living, the paintings in this exhibition weave together historical events, allegorical myths and creation stories with current events and Williams' personal life experiences to address a range of subjects including oppressive social structures, white supremacy, police brutality, abuse of power, and political activism.
Created with oil-based enamel paint and pencil on canvas, Williams introduces a new painted dot technique that is a matrix of cultures and periods - from impressionist Pointillism, folk art, and digital pixilation to Afrofuturism, Australian Aboriginal dot painting, and traditional African body scarification. The readability of each painting is mitigated as the field of vibrant, colorful marks and amusing cartoonish forms are transformed into a spectral vision caught in an endless moment of becoming or dissolving - a past, present and future in limbo. The works in River of Styx challenge the viewer to make sense of what they are seeing and confront their own understandings of who we are as a people and a country.
Born in 1952 in Nyack, New York, Peter Williams earned his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and his BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Recent exhibitions include With So Little To Be Sure Of (2018), curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, CUE Art Foundation, New York; Soul Recordings (2018), Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite Of The Swamp (2017-18), organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Prospect Triennial, New Orleans, LA; Dark Humor: Peter Williams (2017), Allcott Gallery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; The N-Word: Common and Proper Nouns (2017), Ruffin Gallery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; and Me, My, Mine: Commanding Subjectivity in Painting (2016), DC Moore Gallery, New York.
Williams was included in the Whitney Biennial (2002) and is the recipient of numerous honors including the National Academy of Design (inducted 2018), the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (2018), the Joan Mitchell Award (2004 and 2007), and a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1985-87). His paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Delaware Art Museum, Howard University in Washington, DC, and the Mott-Warsh Collection in Flint, MI, among others. Peter Williams lives in Wilmington, Delaware, and is Senior Professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Delaware.