Bonjour le Dagoty. https://www.ohio.com/akron/entertainment/arts/art-review-humans-and-animals-mix-in-whimsical-works-at-canton-museum-of-art
Plus d'infos sur l'artiste Brian R. Williams :
Finding a way to form a connection with people is one of most basic elements of being an artist. Whether you’re a choreographer, musician or visual artist, the audience and the bond you do or do not form with them affects the interpretation and reaction to the work you’re making.Ministers of the Kingdom: Brian R. Williams
, on view at the Canton Museum of Art, is an excellent exhibit full of work inspired by nature, history, animals, ghost stories, folklore and old-fashioned photography, forming an easy connection to its viewers.
Williams compares his drawings to Aesop’s Fables, “where animal characters exist in a man-made environment — either posing as a person or replacing man-made technology — to illustrate the ways that people and animals are similar but also to create unusual, humorous, and surreal drawings.”
Part of the “fable” too is that Williams frequently puts animals with humans pulled from history and creates a relationship there that likely never existed, but makes you think about the human subject in a new way. It doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re being told a secret about who these people from history actually were, but much of the fun in looking at these works is the idea that there may be more to learn.
Further, they are all superbly illustrated, with a detail and an artistic mark that reminds you of books and illustrations that have been beloved throughout history as well.
In general, ornate and gilded frames detract from the quality of contemporary visual art. However, in the case of Williams’s work they help support the portraits and add a level of value. It’s as if you are looking at a prized family heirloom that’s been cherished and is now being shared with the public.
Annie Oakley and Stegosaurus pictures Ms. Oakley with a star on her hat, holding a double-barrel shotgun and looking off to the left. Her stegosaurus “friend” is standing to her left and is looking to the right across her. There is a familiarity between to the subjects that creates a feeling of a long companionable relationship.
Williams states in the exhibit information that “Annie Oakley and Stegosaurus is one of my favorite drawings because it combines two of my favorite subjects: history and dinosaurs. I was in the mood to draw a dinosaur, so this drawing started as a question that I posed to myself: ‘What if famous Americans from history had dinosaurs as companion animals?’ ”
Brookes of Hammockshire is a drawing that’s been presented in an antique photo frame. It shows a well-groomed otter siting in Victorian dress on what looks to be a parlor chair. It’s a serious-looking portrait, one that looks like something you might take to “show and tell” in elementary school and present to your classmates for part of a genealogy assignment.
What is most magical about Williams’ work is that you instantly form personal stories while looking at it. Furry, Four-Legged and Family portrays an aristocratic woman, well dressed, with her equally well-dressed pets. There are multiple portraits of what must be previous pets in frames behind the subjects, and there is also a sculpture of a cat on a pedestal placed directly over the woman’s shoulder.
There are so many questions that come to mind. Like, how did she get her hair like that? Can you imagine trying to get cats into those outfits? Like the other works in this show, this piece has lovely details that enhance and make it real.
The fact that Williams is inspired by many different subjects gives his work an investigative feel too. Here is an artist working to make better visual art, who mines the subjects he loves. And here is an artist who strives to make work that shares these passions.
Ultimately, because of the use of the animal kingdom and people as subjects, these pieces are very easy to connect with and it is this level of communication that makes this exhibit a real treat.
By Anderson Turner
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