William T. Williams: Variations on Themes

Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims

Endnotes

1 Juan Espinosa, “Diamond in a Box Series,” archived article, http://www.williamtwilliams.com/archive/catalogue/Diamond/page1/?print=1.

2 For an insightful discussion of the theoretical and critical concepts that mark content and form see Jonathan Harris, Writing Back to Modern Art: After Greenberg, Fried and Clark. (London and New York: Routledge, 2005).

3 April Kingsley, “From Explosion to Implosion: The Ten Year Transition of William T. Williams,” archived article, http://www.williamtwilliams.com/archive/articles/fromexplosiontoimplosin/page1/?print=1.

4 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, artist’s studio, New York City, September 4, 2009.

5 It is an interesting fact that sculptor Mel Edwards, one of Williams’ contemporaries who also works abstractly, mentioned quilting activities in his family and immediate circle of acquaintances as important creative activities he was able to observe during his formative years. See Lowery Stokes Sims, “Melvin Edwards: An Artist’s Life and Philosophy,” essay for catalogue, Melvin Edwards Sculpture: A Thirty Year Retrospective, 1963-1993, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York, 1993, pp. 9-19.

6 Lowery Stokes Sims, “Vivian Browne/ William T. Williams,” archived article, http://www.williamtwilliams.com/archive/catalog/Browne/page1/?print=1. This article was originally written for a brochure of an exhibition of the work of Vivian Browne and William T. Williams at the Jamaica Arts Center, in 1988.

7 The title of this series is based on the Harkness, Krachow and List publishers who produced the prints.

8 Williams also notes that this myopia led to critics and writers missing, ignoring, or not being interested in specific cultural references (e.g. to African art and culture) in his work at the time. William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September 4, 2009.

9 For information on the murals commissioned for Harlem Hospital, see Diana L. Linden and Larry A. Greene, "Charles Alston's Harlem Hospital Murals: Cultural Politics in Depression Era Harlem." Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 26 (2002): 391–421.

10Lowery Stokes Sims, “Vivian Browne/ William T. Williams.” 1988.

11 Ibid

12 Ibid

13 Ibid

14 April Kingsley, “From Explosion to Implosion: The Ten Year Transition of William T. Williams,” 1981.

15 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September 4, 2009.

16 April Kingsley, “From Explosion to Implosion: The Ten Year Transition of William T. Williams,” 1981.

17 Joseph Jacobs, interview with William T. Williams, in Since the Harlem Renaissance: 50 Years of Afro-American Art, [exh. cat.]. (Lewisburg, PA: The Center Gallery of Bucknell University, 1985), pg 47.

18 Artist’s website: www.williamtwilliams.com/gallery/browse/print/?id=55

19 Valerie Mercer, “Fourteen Paintings,” 1991. Archived article, http://www.williamtwilliams.com/archive/catalog/Fourteen/page1/?print=1.

20 Lowery Stokes Sims, “Vivian Browne/William T. Williams,” 1988.

21 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September 4, 2009.

22 The artist notes: “This title comes from listening to the jazz composition, Perdido. The difficulty in art is turning pain into poetry. What the artist has to do is take all of life’s experiences, distill them and create images that speak to the depth of the human experience.” Artist’s website: http://www.williamtwilliams.com/gallery/browse/print/?pid=34.

23 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September, 4, 2009.

24 It would be noted that McCollum’s surrogates exist as framed black presences with no specific image, but the human presence is undeniable.

25 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September 4, 2009.

26 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims. August 21 and September 7, 2009. Williams will allow for reading of the more abstract forms in these compositions as seeds, yams, even clouds.  There are other compositions in which heads, hands, fire and house forms are very evident.

27 That sensibility has recently been identified in contemporary arts and design and marked in the 2008 exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, Rococo: The Continuous Curve, 1730-2008 was on view at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum from March 7-July 6, 2008.

28 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims, August 21 and September 4, 2009.

29 William T. Williams in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims. August 21 and September 4, 2009. See also artist’s website http://www.williamtwilliams.com/gallery/browse/print/?pid=29.

30 That Williams worked on the Ellington etchings at the Printmaking Workshop, founded and run by the legendary print meister Robert Blackburn, was fortuitous. Blackburn’s well-known predilection for encouraging experimentation complemented Williams’ own for experimentation and exploration.

31 The serigraphs Bee’s Quest and Karen’s Tale were commissioned by the David C. Driskell Center and printed in 2008 with Master Printmaker Prof. Curlee Raven Holton at the Experimental Printmaking Institute, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.

32 Artist’s website: http://www.williamtwilliams.com/gallery/browse/print/?pid=40.