Sarah Williams - Area Codes
Sarah Williams: Area Codes
January 16 – February 20, 2016
In her first exhibition with the gallery, Williams presents a series of small oil on panel paintings. Each depicts a quiet, small town scene in the stillness of night, curiously devoid of human interaction. All of the works come from photographs taken at night of ordinary, rural sites around the Midwest with an early, first-generation digital camera. In her studio, Williams transforms these images into painted nightscapes illuminated with the unusual glow of street lamps, house lights and strings of holiday bulbs, all casting their glow onto surrounding objects.
The straightforward nature of the paintings is deceptive, as the works evoke different moods depending on the quality of light and context of the site presented. For example, Meadowmere Street offers a simple food truck with an amusing hula dancer form atop its sign, as the glimmer from the neon and service window lights illuminate the surrounding spaces and imbue the simple cracked lines of the street with a mysterious quality. In contrast, the isolated house depicted in Marine Drive glows with an eerie loneliness, its shadows filled with reflected somber colors that show the influence of American painter Edward Hopper. Williams fills her everyday tableaus of small town America with equal parts of mystery and moody reverie.
After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from William Woods University, Missouri, Williams received a Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from the University of North Texas in 2009. The artist now serves as professor of painting at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
Williams’ paintings have been featured in one-person exhibitions at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, Wyoming; the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont; the Galveston Art Center; McMurtrey Gallery, Houston; and George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles. In addition, the artist has been granted numerous awards, including residencies at Willapa Bay AiR in Oysterville, Washington (2015); the Ucross Foundation Artist Program in Ucross, Wyoming (2013); artist’s grant and residency at the Vermont Studio Center (2010); and the Muriel Braeutigam Memorial Prize from the St. Louis Artists’ Guild (2004). In the fall of 2015, the artist’s work was included in New American Paintings (no. 119, Midwest Edition).