Works by both Sue Williams & Geraint Ross-Evans BAY ART______, Cardiff

Supported by Cardiff City Council
Soundscape supported by Swansea College of Art UWTSD
Photograph credits: Ric Bower

As part of this joint exhibition, Williams presents a collaborative soundscape installed alongside her painting and drawing installations, that operates as a site of convergence for a multiplicity of voices and conversations relating to contemporary womanhood. Developed in collaboration with Dr David Bird and Dr Marilyn Allen, Dr Bird’s composition juxtaposes meandering sonic iterations with the dynamic and compelling classical vocals of Dr. Marilyn Allen. The overheard conversations and spoken utterances that form part of this complex audial installation are dialogues conducted between Williams and Allen, feminist dialogues that contemplate the socio-political conditions of female lived experience.

Dr Helen Gorrill, Reader in Critical and Contextual Studies, University of Dundee and Author of ‘Why women Can’t Paint’ writes:

“With a body of raw and powerful paintings, Sue Williams has distinguished herself as one of her generation’s leading voices in contemporary British art. As Wales’ most prominent female artist today, she presents a bold and direct commentary in painting – pertinent where she lives and works in a deprived community, and in which the macro and micro of real life is as magnified and stark as her artworks. The context of William’s paintings can however clearly be pinpointed to very specific points in global art history: from Renaissance portraiture resplendent with symbolism and alliteration, to 20th century expressionism, art brut, pop art, and the feminist art movement.

“Williams’ canvases stretch seven feet in height, often hanging like banners, untrammelled by convention being both metaphorically and literally untethered to the frame. She indeed occupies a unique position within the future history of Western art, her searing social commentary presenting the artist as a thoroughly modern mistress to the old masters who have similarly explored important issues of their time. Williams’ artworks demand us to question the position of gender today, when misogyny is on the increase, still considered to be the world’s oldest and most resilient prejudice. Williams’ paintings should be viewed as an important and indeed art-historically defining transcription of many prominent art historical works. It is refreshing to see such honesty in artwork created within an era which is becoming more and more fragmented from social consciousness and engagement.

“Williams applies her paint and collage from an academic training, solidly underpinned through a conceptual framework of contemporary issues facing humankind, particularly women today. Art history has long considered ‘women’s issues’ as being frivolous and unnecessary, even when dealt with by Williams’ contemporaries such as Tracey Emin. Yet alongside Emin, Williams persists with her urgent expressionism, the artist’s honesty unexpected and catching us off guard as we are forced to examine our innermost thoughts and preconceived ideas about the world around us today. Willliams has made a significant development in the persistence to her subject, and the distinctive aesthetic character and importance of this oeuvre of British art. She reappropriates contemporary mass media images to critique the socially constructed roles of gender – something that affects us all no matter where we are on the gender spectrum – yet alongside her painting is characterised by bold and furious figural mark-making, created with an unmistakable physicality.  Williams’ work also blurs the boundaries between sketchbook and canvas, which opens new boundaries and possibilities for art, when museums tend to categorise and distinguish between preparatory and resolved pieces. The artist has thus trailblazed a non-categorical way of working that commands attention. Her paintings demand to be regarded. You cannot ignore them. Like many great painters before her, the artist instinctively creates a tension between her subjects’ strength and vulnerability, addressing eternal questions that have stirred beneath the surface and which will forever remain familiar and relevant to contemporary times.”