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March 11 – April 15, 2016
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Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition with Michael Williams. The show will present a suite of new paintings, featuring further explorations of his puzzle paintings series and iterations of a figure featured in recent work. Williams is known for his richly colored, multi-layered paintings employing a range of techniques including airbrush, oil paint, and inkjet printing. Often juxtaposing figurative and abstract forms, the artist persistently examines the nature, boundaries, and tensions of the painted surface.

In these works a familiar computer software prompt repeatedly obscures the same figure. Williams transformed this convergence of computer screen layers into a starting point for further exploration. From a carefully established procedural framework of drawing, cutting and redrawing monotypes, Williams then distorts, subverts, and obscures the image through painterly experimentation and layering. The digital native source image, traditional printmaking, and improvisational painted gesture collide in ways that are both casual and exacting, humorous and serious, and untethered from any fixed perspective.

For Williams, the process of cutting and redrawing is a way to generate abstract images from representational imagery. Willfully obscuring optical boundaries, Williams’s paintings make room for the anthropomorphic, amoebic, hallucinogenic, and the commonplace to coalesce into what George Pendle describes as an “intense polychromatic miasma.” The viewer is left to sort through the miasma to find the demarcations that the eye craves; to fully perceive the flux of forms, colors, and scraps of language in Williams’s painting is to wander through and across hazy layers and find an image both constructed and deconstructing itself.

Michael Williams was born in 1978 in Pennsylvania and lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at venues including Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, Montreal, Canada and Gallery Met, New York, and group exhibitions at notable institutions including: secession, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas; and the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow.