We asked the Art Historian Wouter Maas to reflect on how his art interactions have changed during the ongoing Pandemic. Wouter Maas started describing the art at the Gallery Sorelle Sciarone in March 2020.
Paintings by Fiona J. Williams
Fiona J. Willaims is a contemporary British painter with Jamaican Heritage, living in London. Her gestural portraits capture the rich inner lives of her still sitting portraits. Her paintings are full of energy, yet the sitter is still. Each image is an invitation to meditate on all that transpires in our lives and those we love.
Fiona has painted bold, clear faces, and even though they are strangers to us, they become a guide to questions humans have always needed to be answered.
Where do we come from?
How will we deal with this?
What is my part in this?
Through these paintings, we are tethered to the human condition of navigating life's intricacies. They invite us to find out more of ourselves, the sitter, the artists, our world. Yet, the paintings are also clean and balanced in a way that brings warmth to any room.
"The first feminist gesture is to say: "Ok. They're looking at me. But I am looking at them." The act of deciding to look, of deciding that the world is not defined by how people see me, but how I see them." - Agnès Varda (1928 -2019)
Buy a painting by Fiona
About the paintings Fiona makes
Fiona is a painter whose work is stimulated by her curiosity. It might be her physical environment. Or it might be historical references both artistically and socially. Other artists working with emotion are also an inspiration. The world piques her interest.
The elements provoking her artistic force encompass the formal aspects of line, colour, shape and texture. Alongside this, she is particularly interested in exploring the histories and inner emotional life of her paintings' subjects. Those subjects are currently most often herself, but can also include family, friends, acquaintances.
Fiona has been a painter since she was a child. She grew up in a house e full of creators and designers. She has a professional background in Textile Design and has worked both with Interiors, vintage clothing and antique textiles. You can see some of her textile experience come into her paintings, with the use of clear lines and the often stark contrast between the foreground and background of each painting. There is usually no middle ground in textile designs. In paintings, the middle ground is used to create the illusion of depth in an image. Many Fauvistic artists (Henri Matisse) also discarded the middle ground in their paintings, which allows the viewer to immerse their focus on painting itself, without an exact central point of focus. The hierarchy of the painting dissolves and all elements in the painting become equally crucial; in Fiona's case allowing the expressionistic brushstrokes to capture the inner emotional workings of her sitter.
Her style is, therefore, most closely related to Contemporary Expressionism. Contemporary Expressionism, builts off of the movement form the early twenty-first century. Where the artist focused on an intuitive method of painting, expressionist focus less on detail, their subjects are distorted or simplified. Fiona has a particular focus on figurative and representational art. So her figures are often simplified, and the Expressionist nature of her paintings comes from her gestural brush strokes.
However, as an artist, she is reluctant to pigeonhole herself by viewing her work as belonging to one particular style as it often changes! "I like to be free to follow my artistic impulses without feeling constrained by any sense of affiliation to a specific style. I find that the work I regard as most rewarding is often the work where I incorporate new elements. However, I find that some stylistic elements do naturally reoccur in my work, and I'm comfortable with that."
Her artwork explores issues of identity and self in ways that are unique to her. "When I'm creating and also when I look back at my work there is often a tension, a push and pull and a contrast at work that I feel in part derives from my unconventional background and upbringing."And even though her paintings come from deep personal space, each painting welcomes us to grapple with the same questions and energy that Fiona and the sitter were experiencing. The human condition is universal but rooted in our own distinctly flavoured personal experience. Fiona has the unique ability to capture intense emotions in an otherwise still portrait. The inner tension and lives of her paintings are practically buzzing with energy disconnected to physical movement.
Fiona's paintings are beautiful naked universal presentations of the questions we face to navigate our existence.
"It may sound cliché or over the top, but – it means everything! Art has always been an escape for me. It represents many things including going to a world of comfort or retreat, a place to explore representations of reality or fantasy, a stimulus for internal and external excitement, release and freedom, at times a meditation."
Recent Art Exhibitions
Solo Exhibition Humans at their Most Vulnerable Form– Gallery Sorelle Sciarone (online November 2020).
- Group exhibition – BOLD, at Theatre Deli, London (October 2019).
- Dark Yellow Dot – Featured Artist of The Month (May 2019).
- Group Exhibition – “Conscious Versus Sub-Conscious”, Elizabeth James Gallery, London (February 2019).
Fiona's work has been bought by UK collectors