“For over 30 years Sue Williams has created a transgressive body of work that has established her as one of the most significant painters of her generation. Emerging as part of the East Village art scene in late-1980s New York City, Williams’ subversive anti-art aesthetic quickly gained her recognition. Referencing the history of painting, particularly the fraught legacies of hyper masculine artists like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, her canvases combined figuration with feminist cultural critique. Towards the end of the 1990s her works employed a more abstract lyrical style, featuring colorful cartoonish allover compositions charged with political meaning.
Williams’ recent works continue to be inherently political but utilize the language of painted abstraction paired with explicit titles to convey meaning. Providing a synthesis of the themes and modes of painting evident throughout her oeuvre, these relatively minimalistic compositions feature exposed fields of canvas ground punctuated with explosions of color and form. Ranch House W Extension Designs depicts a restrained, gestural mark making that conjures the domestic imagery of the American architectural style reminiscent of the house in which the artist grew up. Mining the unconscious, works like Pleasantville and Golden Arches fuse vernacular structures with corporate imagery and ethereal swathes of bright color and elongated form.
Also on view are a series of new collages that continue to depict the themes present in the adjoining paintings. Their humorous and ironic subject matter combines domestic symbolism with excerpts from figurative moments extracted from recent paintings, as well as boldly patterned strips of wallpaper samples.
Sue Williams was born in Chicago Heights, IL in 1954 and received her B.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Williams’ work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide. Selected solo presentations include Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria; IVAM Valencia, Spain; Geneva Center for Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland; and Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany; among others. Her work is included in major museums and private collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; New Museum, New York; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum; and Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany.”