Robert Williams at Barnsdall

Bitchin Be Fringing: Robert Williams

In Short & Sweet by Moto OkawaLeave a Comment

Categorically and as an easy comparative measure, I still find myself at times conversing about art in terms of its high and low stature. Not to say that I hand down the value judgement on one over the other, however, since the only adjudication I dish out is whether or not what I’m seeing is pleasurable and provokes any kind of emotional response on my part (or is it the other way around?). I get a feeling though, that these pondering of mine is exactly the kind of stuff at which Robert Williams and his art would give a “Foxtrot Yankee” salutation.

Often crowned as the granddaddy of underground cultural expressions, Williams has been at his craft since the 60’s. With a singular focus, his art confronts me with highly opinionated immediacy of representational surrealism. This is my world, each of his work appears to be screaming the same riff. Take it or leave it, I am told. Look at his screeching smoking wheel sculpture for example, what else would it be yelling at me? My verdict? Oh hell yes, I like these —a lot. There’s a man whose life experience is so vastly different than my I-admire-white-walls aesthetics. Yet I can dig the raw energy of this 72 years young artist.

In the end, the world is big enough and niches can also be big enough to form their own sustainable ecosystem. If there’s an app for that, then there’s an art for that, too. Mr. Bitchin be fringing. But I think our cultural zeitgeist can use a little more of Williams.

Robert Williams’ SLANG Aesthetics! just concluded on April 19th at Barnsdall. It was a GOTTA-GO.

All images shot by author for editorial purposes only.

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