Ten Pounds of Mastery with "Robert Williams: The Father of Exponential Imagination"
“Art is not the slave of decoration,” is among the memorable declarations the painter and wordsmith pens (and I use the word literally) in acerbic, wickedly insightful essays that punctuate this 450-pager published by Fantagraphic Books. Robert Williams: The Father of Exponential Imagination hits the scales at almost ten pounds in a multi-course banquet of commentary, sculpture, drawing, and over 300 oil paintings with titles like The Gender Offenders, Vegas In Recession, and A Young Girl’s Smile Isn’t Legal Consent. Candid shots of personalities like Ed Roth, R. Crumb, Von Dutch and Anna Getty pop up like naughty character references. As behooves its title, the book is an encyclopedic manifestation of a fertile imagination which, after making impact, never berates but connects with mythology, history, and piercing editorial, often presented with a wink, and always a joyous stance that, indeed, nothing is sacred. In fact, the entire book illustrates the conclusion in Coagula Art Journal founder Mat Gleason’s introduction, “Robert’s half-century of painting is the triumph of imagination over art world pseudo-sophistication. Nothing Robert does is easy. It is fussed over, polished and reworked into perfection before it is unleashed into his land of retinal delights. History has shown him to have slain the Hydra, but watch out for it anyway when you are in galleries or in the museums.” ––Gwynned Vitello