The Father of Exponential Imagination: A Look at Robert Williams @ Bellevue Arts Museum
There could be no more appropriate title for a Robert Williams art show than The Father of Exponential Imagination. It's the perfect moniker. There is never just one idea, or one thing, happening in a Robert Williams painting, but rather an entire fantasy or surreal novel on one canvas, the depth and mastery of concept is second to none, and the fact hits home once you see over 30 works and sculptures all in one exhibition.
On view now through March 8, 2020, The Father of Exponential Imagination is a compilation of Williams' work over the past twenty years, including two of his sculptures, The Rapacious Wheel and Errant Levity. In addition to savoring a master's visual magic, you are gifted with a discourse on the works as well. Each painting is accompanied by a Williams' essay, that offers insights and wry observations on the process of making art, art history and the human condition. Williams is both imaginative and playful, often making direct commentary on society, and other time,s expanding on the artist's role therein. Such rare insight secured Williams at the an apex throughout his career.
Coinciding with the opening, Williams and Seattle-based Fantagraphics released the massive, 11-pound monograph of the same name. The sheer weight and scale of the book captures the breadth of the works. To appreciate the detail and depth of each image, one needs to spend time with the paintings, and the book affords that opportunity. The history of Juxtapoz starts with Williams, and the level of sophistication and truly maverick musings are more vital as ever. —Evan Pricco
Read our interview with Robert Williams from the Fall 2019 issue.