303 Gallery opened its ninth exhibition of Sue Williams’ work, “WTC, WWIII, Couch Size,” this past Thursday., January 16th The show was full of bright colors reaching across large canvases all around the gallery.
Williams’ canvases were a complex blur of colors, ranging from your basic primary and secondary colors to vibrant, Lisa-Frank-level, highlighter colors. All this color together in one place was like being on a sunny beach in Florida or California.
Her pieces are definitely abstract, but here and there details emerge from a blur of colorful emotion; this is seen in more than one of her pieces in this exhibit, where towers rise out of the colors. The abstract quality of the paintings leads to them feeling unfinished in some cases, particularly when the canvas shows through. However, the title of the show suggests that Williams is looking for answers about the past and the future—about World War Three, and the World Trade Center, and how it all relates. In this light, then, the unfinished quality of the paintings points to something more abstract: the paintings come off more like unfinished thoughts, or flashes of dreams barely remembered.
The colorful oeuvre generated from centers of chaos: all of the imagery tends to pull toward a single point on each canvas, which then emanates all the swirling, unfurling dreams and thoughts over the landscape of the canvas. In several of her works featured in this exhibit, the rare solid form really pops: in one piece, above the melee of the swirling cacophony, sits a window; this might be a way into this world of colorful thoughts and emotions. In fact, this window may be suggesting that to grasp the meaning of these paintings, one might need to sit and take them in for an extended period of time, just as one sits at a window contemplating the world outside.
Sue Williams: WTC, WWIII, Couch Size / On View: Jan. 16–Feb. 22, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am–6pm
303 Gallery. 507 W 24th Street NYC, NY 10011
Art review by: Grace Moss
Photography by: Olya Turcihin