Franklin Williams’s art practice subverts mainstream mid- to late twentieth-century art trends. In the 1960s and 1970s, when many contemporary abstract painters were concerned with hard lines and edges and embracing the physical urgency of art making, Williams instead focused on organic shapes and patterns by means of labor-intensive techniques such as stitching and painting with fine brushes. A Beautiful Dark Moment
is composed of abstracted anatomical elements that don’t read as specifically animal- or plant-like, but as both simultaneously. Viewers may identify phallic, vaginal, and breast-like shapes that, upon second glance, transform into plants and insects. The leaf-like patterns reference nature, and the luminous yellow crescents contrasted against the deep green and blue evoke the night, as the title suggests. Williams’s work, with these earthy suggestions, demonstrates how easily our minds conflate nature and the human form.
–Caroline Coxe ’20
From the exhibition: Lover EarthArt and Ecosexuality (May 30 – August 23, 2020)