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Peter Williams in the studio.

For more than 40 years Williams has chronicled current and historical events, interspersing pictorial narratives with personal anecdotes and fictional characters in order to create paintings about the diverse experiences of Black Americans. With boldness and humor, he tackles the darkest of subjects including, but not limited to, police brutality, lynching, slavery, mass incarceration, and other realms of racial oppression. Williams uses cultural criticism to form new creation myths, retelling the history of America from fresh and cosmic perspectives.

Peter Williams lives in Wilmington, DE and is Senior Professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Delaware. He earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Howard University, Washington DC; Wayne State University, Detroit: Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA; CCH Pounder Collection, New Orleans; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; the Mott-Warsh Collection in Flint, MI; The Bunker/Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Palm Beach; Jorge Perez Collection, Miami; Bill and Christy Gautreaux, Kansas City; and the McEvoy Collection, San Francisco, among others.

Peter Williams Da Ferguson News, 2014

Peter Williams
Da Ferguson News, 2014
Oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches
 

Peter Williams Das Ferguszeist, 2014

Peter Williams
Das Ferguszeist, 2014
Oil on canvas
​48 x 36 inches

Peter Williams Dis-Ferguson, 2014

Peter Williams
Dis-Ferguson, 2014
Oil on canvas
​48 x 36 inches

In 2014 Peter Williams began a series of paintings in response to the succession of reported killings and murders of unarmed African Americans at the hands of American law enforcement. The growing list includes the high-profile cases of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Walter Scott in South Carolina, Tamor Rice in Cleveland, Akai Gurley in Brooklyn, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Philandro Castlile in Minnesota.  Williams began with three paintngs that make reference to the shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a norhern suberb of St. Louis.  The three pieces also cite the paintings of Philip Guston, who was an artist-in-residence at Washington Uinversity in St. Louis from 1945-1947, and who returned to figuration in the late 1960s after an illustrous period of abstract painting, with work that contained cartoon depictions of the Ku Klux Klan. Guston had famously said of his transition frm abstraction to cartoon figuration, as a gesture of revolt: "What kind of man am I, sitting at home, getting into a frutrated fury about everything an then going into y studio to adjust a red to a blue?"  William's Ferguson pieces are noted for their intense red and blue palette. - Ryan Standfest for The N-Word catalog, A Rotland Press Original

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