Michael Williams arrival

Michael Williams show at Veneklasen/Werner, Berlin

It shouldn’t work. As is often the case with painting, it is the slightly dumb thing or the ‘wrong’ combinations that catch the eye. As the old joke has it the frustrating response to the question ‘Can you tell me how do I get to [someplace]?’ is . . . ‘well, I wouldn’t start from here.’ If Painting was the destination, the best guess might be that it is located in many different places. So getting there is tricky. Indeed maps and guides are of limited use. Traditional routes may not be reliable; sign-posts may be in the wrong language (or poor translations from French), but maybe a good sense of direction might help.

A sense of arrival at a Painting destination is evident in This Means Something To My Horse a big exhibition of paintings by Michael Williams seen recently in Berlin. It is easy to figure out how they got to be the way that they are; how they were made. Williams has a great sense of direction, but it is never a question of taking the direct route. He begins with fuzzy, shaky, cartoonish doodling with an airbrush on large canvasses. Then he lathers on a translucent off-white or ochre layers of paint – leaving some bits of the doodles untouched, and later on builds up impasto elements in an improvisatory manner. Not quite a text book technique. The results are stunning. See more here.

Posted by Robert Armstrong

Michael Williams, Ralph’s Idea, 2010, airbrush and oil on canvas,193×170 cm


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