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Last Chance to See Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire

Last chance to see stunning exhibition

Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire ends this Sunday, 11 April 2010. The exhibition comprises of 14 striking and vibrant paintings that demonstrate the strength of his work and the coherence and consistency of his approach to painting.

The last week of the exhibition coincides with the display World, Water and Life, artwork created by a group of young refugees and asylum seekers from EMTAS and inspired by the Aubrey Williams Atlantic Fire exhibition, on show at the gallery until 11 April 2010.

The young people explored themes from the natural world prevalent in Williams’ vibrant paintings. Their research included handling and exploring aquatic life, shells, bugs, snails and scorpions from the collections at World Museum with an artist and museum staff. The final artworks are inspired by Williams’ distinctive style and embedded with the symbols of the natural elements they discovered.

Aubrey Williams’ global outlook and his readiness to question art doctrines put him ahead of his time. Often featuring fragmented objects, intense natural colours, hints at musical counterpoint and dramatic spatial effects, Williams’ art resists definition. There were a range of influences on his work such as the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (Williams worked on his acclaimed Shostakovich series for over a decade); abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky, and most importantly, the ancient indigenous cultures of Central and South America.

A defining part of Williams’ work, his interest in these cultures enabled him to assert an authentic Caribbean identity within a modern mainstream art world. As he put it:

“The act of painting, the act of daring to make art, the Arawak had a word for it and they called it Timehri… Now, Timehri to the Arawak means the mark of the hand of man…That is the word for art for me.”