Robin Williams

Robin Williams was born in 1984 in Columbus, Ohio, and began making oil paintings before she had learned to sign her name. Soon after abandoning her aspirations of becoming a mermaid, she decided instead to become an artist when she grew up. Since then, she’s spent most of her time painting pictures, playing softball, and cooking. She’s a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Graduating with a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006, Williams has shown with some of New York’s top galleries, including Space 414, Jack the Pelican Presents and Claire Oliver Gallery. She is represented by P.P.O.W. which recently moved from the East Village to Chelsea. P.P.O.W. has an amazing roster of represented artists, including personal favorites George Boorujy, Bo Bartlett, and Julie Heffernan. They also represent the Estate of David Wojnarowicz, and have been instrumental in the dialog surrounding the National Portrait Gallery‘s recent removal of Fire in My Belly from their Hide/Seek exhibition. Williams is in excellent company, and her first solo show, “Rescue Party,” opening January 27th, is chock full of work that proves that she deserves to be there.

RobinThree Robin Williams Rescue Party at P.P.O.W.

From P.P.O.W.’s press release: “Through a series of eleven paintings, Williams reveals a surreal world inhabited by adolescents of ambiguous gender that are on the brink of discovery or revelation. Each painting has a distinct narrative but with no specific conclusion. There is a sense of pause in each work which heightens the sense of the impending chance for change. Williams is able to achieve this surreal timelessness through her painting techniques. While at once employing traditional painting methods, she is also experimental and intuitive. Her use of color, light, texture and composition are all used to explore painting as a medium and to link this to the conceptual content within each work. Represented through her adolescent subjects, Williams examines the internal phase of development that takes place during young adulthood. These youths inhabit a liminal state of being; they are often stranded, Hopperesque figures, posing in their costumes, hoping their visage will evince an inner truth. Tired Prince is one such adolescent. He is at once regal but absurd, and bravely self-aware. Each of her characters is seeking a sense of identity, safety, and well-being. Some choose to wait for rescue, while others willfully adopt a persona hoping it will lead them toward salvation.

RobinOne Robin Williams Rescue Party at P.P.O.W.

Most of the characters are either engaged in antiquated tasks or playing a form of dress-up, as in Milking or Yellow Hat. Throughout, their expressions are half-aware, far off stares of grief, reminiscent of George Tooker s work. In Rescue Party many possess this stare but there is also hope in this distant gaze. This painting, which pulls from art historical references such as Th odore G ricault s The Raft of the Medusa, transforms the raft into a kiddie pool and although it is staged in a banal vacancy of surrounding and gesture, there is a sense of hope and possibility. Each of Williams  subjects is searching for meaning. Whether it is through history, habit, or nostalgia, each is seeking an answer and they will endeavor in the absurd or the useless until it is revealed.”

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