Thursday, September 22, 2011

Robert Williams

Robert Williams is yet another artist who got his start in the 60's underground comics scene and moved on to become very well known and respected for his work. He is a painter as well as an illustrator whose acid-drenched work contains overpowering amounts of detail and color. He works most often in the Surrealist tradition -- seamlessly mixing the ordinary with the extraordinary. This creates a kind of dream-like atmosphere which Williams crams with living substance from the conscious and unconscious mind. Much of his work deals with the darker more twisted side of the "American Dream" which has become so over-saturated and over-stimulated by media and culture (or lack thereof). I really like Williams' work because, looking at it, I can get a sense of the endless fragments of information which I take in (knowingly or unknowingly) every day and see them laid out and piled up in detail.
A lot of Robert Williams' work exaggerates archetypal sensual pleasures such as hot rods and beautiful (usually scantily clothed) women in provocative positions. He exaggerates them until they become comedic; often putting side by side elements from life and fantasy -- all swollen, sensuous and raw -- like looking in detail at the artist's Id.
In recent years Williams founded the art and culture magazine Juxtapoz which has become quite successful and popular in the art world. I would highly recommend Williams' work to anyone interested in the absurd and surreal. He is most certainly one of my favorites. A link to his website is included below:


  1. This piece show such an awesome control of value. There's a uniform sunny glow that gets nicely explored in the high-contrast shading of the eye. The disproportionate aspect of it also reminds me of images of the Cortical Homunculus, which maps out our own sense of our body in a line of body parts, with the more sensitive parts of the body being drawn larger.

  2. I'm a fan of surrealism and weird psychedelic subconscious mashed potato art. After looking at his site and gallery, I like the political messages that inspires his art, and his skillful execution of color and value. But most of his images are unsettling. They show the weird and grimy truth behind Western consumer culture. His work is sometimes hard to look at, especially if you're wanting to look at pleasant, relaxing pictures.

  3. This is really intriguing. It forces you to view it longer than most pieces just to try and get everything figured out. Even after looking at it for a while, I'm still not sure what's going on.

  4. Very surrealistic. Nothing like a big eye looking at you :)