Adam Buchanan is a Social Researcher and Community Worker, a musician, an artist and an all round champion. He is passionate about Animal Welfare, Arts and Culture, Education, Environment, Human Rights, Politics, Health and Social Services amongst other things. This month he visited Brisbane’s REDSEA Gallery and has been kind enough to give us his impressions of Kristian Williams exhibition: Electric Metropolis.
During the month of July, Kristian Williams’ neo-expressionist works are on display at Brisbane’s REDSEA Gallery. Inclusive of some 20 or more works, the exhibition takes up a considerable amount of space in this modestly sized gallery. The works themselves are acrylic and oil on canvas, which seem to have been applied with a mixture of techniques. The dimensions of these works varies, some being the size of the average dining room painting, while others reaching a respectable wall filling scale.
A consistent theme within Williams’ work is the human form, specifically, portraiture of the face and upper body. Neo-expressionism sensibility has largely dictated the design of these figures, particularly, Williams’ has propagated of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, to create twisted and abstracted realisations of human physicality. Their faces are skull-like, and boast teeth filled smiles or grimaces. Some of these figures wear easily identifiable objects such as feathered headdresses, or necklaces. However, in many instances the figures seem to be naked, removed from personal items of clothing. Although each work places the human form at its centre, in many cases these figures are also accompanied by other imagery.
The three works London gossip, Paris Gossip, and Rome Gossip, each depicts a person from the waist, a small bird, with an urban environment in the background. The individuals in these works each possess a single female breast, and while this does not confirm gender, it certainly comments on sexuality perhaps individualisation or confusion of sexuality. By combining imagery of urbanism, nature, and human form, with a frenzied and aggressive style, the viewer will question interactions between society, the environment, and the self. A great deal of the emotive quality of all of Williams’ works come from his use of expressive eyes, that in many cases seem to stare directly at the viewer. In Dreary Days we see a figure who appears tired and/or relaxed while in Paris Gossip a dazed look is present, and in each case these sentiments are conveyed solely by the eyes. Weaving around and between forms are arrows, lines, and dotted lines that allude to chaotic inertia. These lines also acts as a visual guide, steering the viewers gaze around the canvas to each and every focus point.
Williams’ use of colour is certainly the most impactful and obvious technique he has employed. Each work often prioritises one or two colours, one as a quasi-border that helps define the work, the other filling forms and enabling them to stand out, while intermingled amongst these dominant colours are spatters of various others. In every instance colours of a complimentary nature have been prioritised, their arrangements accentuating their oppositions, which creates bold and aggressively vibrant works of art. Indeed, the vibrance of these works bestows on them a sense of spectacle that demands the viewer’s gaze, one that I doubt the casual passerby could refuse. While Williams’ work clearly propagates artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and to a lesser extent Norris Embry, Georg Baselitz, and even David Salle at times, the works do stand on their own as captivating and thought provoking.
Get over to REDSEA Gallery on James Street this weekend — for the annual Food and Wine Trail! Then pop in for the final weekend of Kristian Williams solo exhibition.
– Centro 2 27 James Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Ph 07 3162 2230.
Visit Kristian here: