Michael Williams
5 Paintings
July 13–July 28, 2014

249 Main Street
Amagansett, NY 11937

“Most of the imagery here has been recycled from earlier paintings. I often think that in my recent paintings I’ve been using original material as if it were appropriated—reacting to my own printed “drawings” and “paintings” with the language of appropriation.

Like collaging something onto a canvas and painting over it a bit, but in this case I’ve made the thing I’ve collaged. So instead of a dialog with culture that collaging usually implies, it’s a sort of inner dialog or a dialog within the work. More importantly reusing these pictures has to do with downplaying the picture; it’s not a picture you’re meant to contemplate, it’s like a default block of color.

How can I take a “real space” picture I’ve made and adjust it so that it can be read in the vocabulary of an abstract painting? How can I put Shrek into a painting and have that painting be more about formal issues than it is about Shrek?

The imagery has always been something for me to work against rather than my primary ambition. In recent paintings I’ve found ways of intruding on the printed imagery by painting into it with an airbrush. With these new ones I’m stretching them with large boundaries of blank gessoed canvas, treating the printed pictures as slabs of color on a plank—I’m interfering compositionally rather than with paint.

Of course the imagery is there, but I prefer that it’s not the starting point for viewing the paintings. I hope that the paintings begin operating in the grammar of abstraction, and that as a result, the imagery in the paintings is deciphered with a delayed response.”

–Michael Williams