Philemona Williamson creates narrative images in which she makes visual poetry, investigating the lives of adolescents of all races and genders. It is difficult at times to determine the ethnic or sexual identities of some of the children; others are more obvious. They float, rotate, and play across the canvases, operating in a whimsical environment that suggests underlying disturbances. A cheery palette accentuates the idea of childhood, while the strange and fantastical spatial relationships hint at darker events and interactions. Williamson renders their forms with purposeful distortions that emphasize a certain charm and naiveté while simultaneously describing an inner life. There is a restraint to Williamson’s works that accentuates her complex allegories and reinforces the tension between naiveté and darkness that underlies the images. Williamson follows her heart, producing fascinating images that examine the complexities of adolescent life. An accomplished painter, she has been on this path for over twenty years, ignoring the latest trends in order to pursue her investigations. Philemona Williamson is represented by the June Kelly Gallery, NYC.
-J. Susan Isaacs, PhD
Curator of Special Projects