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June 20 – August 2, 2024
Opening Reception: 6pm - 8pm
515 West 24th Street
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Gladstone presents Studiosis, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Michael Williams. The paintings in the exhibition diverge from Williams’ recent choices in materiality and figuration, by utilizing exclusively analog modes of mark-making and generating subjects from visual observation. In earlier work Williams has incorporated digital drawing and inkjet printing to challenge conventional painting doctrines, Studiosis presents his embrace of tradition by returning to painting in the time-honored fashion, with brushes and pigments. In Studiosis, Williams addresses the interior of his studio as a historical subject in painting. Whereas much of Williams’ previous work has generated subject, meaning, and image from his mind’s eye, here he turns to observational painting as a way of deprioritizing the individualistic position of the contemporary artist.

With these adjustments to his visual and material language, Williams explores painting as an act of embodiment by interrogating its formal structures – color, composition, form, texture, and stroke. The physicality of the artist’s hand is captured in each layer, substantiating the significance of paint as a slow medium. Lush gestural passages of painting are contrasted by pointedly focused detail in miniature sequences embedded in his large canvases. These sections of imagery Williams refers to as “footnotes” – moments of rigor and precision found in corners, reflections, and paintings of paintings – challenge a personal painting tradition that has prioritized energy and nonchalance. Ironically, Williams’ attentive brushstrokes reveal the effort once hidden in the flattened prints of his Photoshop paintings.

By detaching from the world outside the studio, Williams’ paintings are an exercise in rendering an insular experience. Contemplating the larger modern reality while observing and representing the personal, Williams captures this familiar environment in an array of shifting perspectives. The objects Williams chooses to depict are not those traditionally seen in an artist’s studio but ones that happen to be stored there, golf clubs, a rowing machine, various chairs, and a table. Perspicuous views of these subjects within the studio architecture face a subtle dismantling, necessitating that the viewer spend time with the paintings in order to align with the image. This augmented dimensionality in the paintings obscures optical boundaries, transforming the mundane into a reflection of Williams’ own perception dissected and reassembled to discover new meanings.

Michael Williams was born in 1978 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He has been the subject of major exhibitions at The Power Station, Dallas (2022); LOK, the Kunstzone in the Lokremise, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Switzerland (2021); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (with Tobias Pils, 2017); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2017); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada (2015); and Gallery Met, New York (2015). Recent group shows include .paint, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Joe Bradley, Oscar Tuazon, Michael Williams, Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2018); The Trick Brain, Aïshti Foundation, Lebanon (2017); High Anxiety: New Acquisitions, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016); Artists and Poets, Secession, Vienna (2015); and The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014). His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Hammer Museum, California; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada.