I see my paintings as a form of time honored visual storytelling with a humanist angle. As a young artist, I was heavily influenced by the Old Masters, and it was a desire to learn more about painting techniques that drove me to study at the New York Academy of Art, then under Odd Nerdrum for parts of three summer residencies. Eventually, I felt confident I could use the medium of painting to tell my own stories about the human condition. I began to exhibit widely from the mid to late 2000’s, often with other former students of Nerdrum who, along with myself, are often criticized (at times, fairly, but other times unfairly) for being too derivative of our mentor’s work. The economic recession, along with changes in my personal life, effectively halted my momentum in 2009, and I began a new phase of reevaluation and exploration with my work.
I’ve only recently begun to reemerge from this period of reflection. The restlessness and instability that drove me to dark themes earlier in my career are gone, and replaced with a desire to find, and portray, beauty and form. I rededicated myself to still life in 2012, eventually earning an Honorable Mention in the Still Life category of the Portrait Society of America’s Members Only Competition for “Still Life with Viola and Harp.”
Regaining my confidence, I’ve returned to the figure with an insatiable excitement about its infinite expressive potential. I work exclusively from live models, finding the “searching” and crafting of the figure to be the most enjoyable part of the painting process, for me. I’ve found that there is a certain “humanity” imbued in works made from life that I do not see in my work, or the works of others, that are made from photo references.
Robert Dale Williams
May 22, 2015