William T. Williams: Variations on Themes

Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims

The linear courses on Williams’ recent paintings also alert us to the relationship of this work to mapping or charting of the artist’s line in space which Williams has also translated into three-dimensional form in the 2007 water-jet cut aluminum sculpture, Aaron’s Light, created at Lafayette College. In the end, it is the smallest of gesture, the slight shift of color areas, the minute separation of parts from the whole, and the relationship of the individual components—so carefully considered and crafted—that comprise the rich visual experience in the work of William T. Williams. As diverse as the work in this exhibition seems, we must recognize that it is the product of an artistic journey that has been as spontaneous as it has been methodical; as singular as it reflects the larger world; as formal as it was free-wielding; as rich as it has been sparse. Perhaps the four tendencies that the artist and I isolated out of his rich oeuvre are emblematic of his career as a whole. Collectively, the entire ensemble can be seen as variations on a theme, and the themes comparable to the standby of life’s progress. As Williams writes about the HKL suite, their theme is not only “the four seasons” but also a metaphor for “the span of one’s life”; as each of the four HKL serigraphs are distinctly different in feeling and in the temperature of the light that each produces,32 so each of the works in this exhibition present aspects of Williams’ imagery in various feelings, and different lights.

Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims
Curator
Museum of Arts and Design