The Essex Art Center is commited to providing high quality art experiences in our classes and in our exhibition spaces. EAC Faculty play a fundamental role towards our goal. They are accomplished artists who share their knowledge and passion with students in a fun and compassionate way. We celebrate our Faculty and are honored to share their artwork in our gallery space.
Please join us in this celebration and be blown away by the amazing talent of 25 artists.
Dina Collier, Cassie Doyon, Sandy Dukeshire, Larry Elardo, Çağıl Harmandar, Joe Iodice, Phuong Lai Matzker, Todd Lamond, Rahat Mama, Daniela Marte, Don Mathias, Mary Ann McArdle, Sharon Morley, Jana Nadolski,
Karen Nastuk, Amy Perrault, Paul Prue, Greg Orfanos, Kathy Reming, Georgia Renfroe, Thea Shapiro, Luba Shapiro Grenader, Caleb Stone, Jesus Vargas, Dan Williams, Jennifer Wood, Peter Wood.
The Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery at Essex Art Center is pleased to present The Fire This Time, new work by Antoine Williams.
Something entirely fictitious and true, that creeps across your path hallowing your evil ways.
– Amiri Baraka
Antoine Williams' art practice is an investigation of his cultural identity through the exploration of societal signs as they relate to institutional inequities. He has created a mythology, which has become a narrative catalogue of loosely autobiographical humanoid beings that personify the complexities of perception, which can affect race, class, and masculinity. His artwork is heavily influenced by science fiction literature from such authors as Octavia Butler and H.G. Wells. Themes in science fiction can be analogous to the Black experience in America. Therefore, the artist has created a world of beings that personify the complexity within hierarchies of power in everyday life. Thesefigures manifest as mixed-media installations, paintings, drawings, and collage.
These entities reference the Dadaists, who appropriated and re-contextualized images from society in order to create “anti-‐art”. Namely Hans Arp, who considered the destruction of “signs” as a subversive act. The signs Antoine Williams is interested in are tropes associated with the Black body within the American psyche.
In the vein of Felix Gonzales-‐Torres, Antoine Williams has a concern for making the personal, public. These beings (which are nameless) are inspired by personal experiences from a rural working class, upbringing, in Red Springs, North Carolina that related to wider contemporary concerns. Inspired by the Amiri Baraka poem “Something in the Way of Things”, these beings live in the intangible spaces that exist between the nuances of class and race. They are both born of and perpetuate the actions and thought processes due to social reproduction. They exist in an abstracted purgatory.
Antoine Williams has participated in artist residencies at Residential College of Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI; Southern Constellations Fellowship, Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC; and Indie Grits Film Festival, Columbia, SC; among others. His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, most recently "Kidnapped Pagans" at the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, and "Black Man with a Horn", AACC Art Gallery, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Additionally, his work has been included in many group exhibitions, including at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Delta Center of the Arts, Stockton, CA; and Greenhill Gallery, Greensboro, NC. He is a faculty member at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC. Antoine Williams received his MFA in studio art from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2014).