Frank Williams and Alun Williams: paintings and drawings

March 23 – April 27 2024

Private View: Saturday March 23, 12-4pm

Open Saturdays and Sundays, 12-4pm and by appointment (contact alunw@pm.me)

This exhibition presents the respective work of a father and son who came to their mutual passion for painting via different routes and whose subjects and techniques are apparently unrelated. One of the premises of the exhibition has been to see if the shared (artistic) DNA of the two artists rises to the surface in any perceptible way. As the only member of the first generation of his family to attend university, Frank Williams had a career as an architect, and while draughtsmanship was a constant, he was only able to focus fully on painting and drawing much later in life. In consequence, his work has only rarely been presented in public, and this is in contrast to the work of his son, Alun, who was fortunate to study painting (with the clear support of his parents!) and who has exhibited regularly ever since in the UK and overseas.

Alun Williams has been committed to an exploration of the human presence in his paintings, frequently through a desire to represent specific characters, often historical ones, but rarely with any concern for “resemblance”, as such. This comes from the notion that paint has far more potential and potency for expression than merely by acting as a vehicle for observation. In this quest to give paint as rich a voice as possible, Williams also regularly resorts to referencing Art History. When Frank Williams began immersing himself more intensively in the challenges and pleasures of painting and drawing, about twenty years ago now, his reflex in terms of choice of subject was perhaps a conventional one: portraits, landscapes and the repetitive practice of life-drawing. However, behind this, it’s interesting that when contemplating some of his architectural studies, the viewer might discern a small element or device that would seem to be not strictly necessary – and therefore somehow of great interest! In a similar way, his portraits and landscapes, and other unrelated works, often include a more or less unexpected detail, element or protocol, which serves to activate the work in a more dynamic way than it perhaps might seem at first sight.

Frank Williams studied architecture at Manchester University, and ended his career by returning to teach in the new MMU School of Architecture, Faculty of Art and Design. In between, he worked first as architect and later as town planner for the City of Manchester, then for private architectural practices, and for an architects’ cooperative. He also later studied architectural conservation and has campaigned, often successfully, to save buildings of historical interest in Manchester.  

Alun Williams was born in Manchester, studied painting at the University of Wales and Goldsmith’s College in London, as well as at the National Art School in Bourges, France. He has exhibited regularly, mostly in the UK, France and the USA, in galleries, non-profit venues and museums, and his work is represented in numerous private and public collections. He has also been active within organisations offering opportunities to artists. For example, he was one of the founders of the Triangle-Asterides contemporary art center in Marseille, France, is currently co-chair of the Triangle Arts Association in New York, and was founder and director of Parker’s Box, an experimental, artist-run gallery in Brooklyn (2000-2013).

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