Peter Williams: With So Little To Be Sure Of
Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah
February 23 - March 29, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, February 23, 6-8PM
Public Panel Discussion: Revolution, Rebellion, Reparations...How to make a painting: Saturday, February 24, 2PM. RSVP HERE.
A conversation with artist Peter Williams, curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, and contributors to the catalogue Angela N. Carroll and Ebony L. Haynes.
CUE Art Foundation is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Peter Williams, curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah. Titled With So Little To Be Sure Of, the exhibition features a series of oil paintings, drawings, and a mixed-media installation that confronts viewers with the traumatic reality of systemic violence towards African Americans. Ossei-Mensah writes, “Commenting on the concepts of race, representation, white supremacy, oppressive social structures, humanity and grace, the works…proselytize their audience with narratives of social surrealism.”
In With So Little To Be Sure Of, Williams draws on four decades as a painter and storyteller to bear witness to systems of oppression in our society, both historical and current. With a vivid palette and comic-style rendering, the artist paints a frenetic narrative that is at once enticing and grotesque. Victimizers take the form of fanged and leering blue-eyed policemen-pigs who torture and abuse black bodies. Williams interweaves references to true incidences of violence with allegorical scenes in which black resistors taunt and tame their abusers.
At a moment he views as a precipice for social and political change, Williams hopes his work will serve as a call to action. “[W]e must do more than bear witness,” he writes, “We must respond.”
Peter Williams grew up in Nyack, NY, a small town on the Hudson River. He holds a B.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He lived in Detroit for seventeen years, where he taught at Wayne State University. Williams has received numerous grants and awards, including a Ford fellowship, a McKnight Foundation fellowship, and grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Michigan Council for the Arts. His work is included in the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Williams currently lives and works in Delaware.
Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and cultural critic who uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe featuring a roster of critically acclaimed artists including Firelei Báez, ruby onyinyechi amanze, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes, and Allison Janae Hamilton to name a few. Ossei-Mensah is also the Co-Founder of ARTNOIR, a global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s diverse creative class. He has documented contemporary art happenings for various publications and his writings have profiled some of the most dynamic visual artists working today: Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson, and street artist JR. Ossei-Mensah recently was the 2017 critic-in-residence at Art Omi. He currently serves as a mentor in the New Museum’s incubator program NEW INC and is a member of MoMA’s Friends of Education.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 32-page color catalogue, with texts by Peter Williams, Larry Ossei-Mensah, Ebony L. Hayes, and Angela N. Carroll. The catalogue is available online and free of charge to gallery visitors. For more information please contact Programs Director Shona Masarin-Hurst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catalogue essay: Histories of Violence by Angela N. Carroll
Peter Williams's Everyday American Hell
Hyperallergic, by John Yau