In art there are no rules

Local artist Adrian Williams’s latest exhibition is open to interpretation, and that’s the point

Part of “Untitled 1” by Adrian Williams. This work was created using spray paint, ink and collage on canvas. Antoinette Dyksman

Adrian Williams doesn’t follow any rules when he creates art. Whether it’s cobbling together various materials into a collage or drawing on reclaimed paper, his quirky style plays with a visually aesthetic texture and depth.

Using everything from silk screen to scraps of metal to shingles to a piece of blue wood that Williams picked up while riding the train across Canada, Williams’s latest collection is titled Let’s Live Here. Over a dozen works of art convey a mixture of themes in the exhibit, which is on display at Golden City Fine Art.

The elements are repeatedly featured; flames and smoke contrast with images of water pouring from a showerhead and boats floating in lakes.

His use of texture extends beyond using physical raw materials to create a literal 3D effect. Williams has a knack for creating very realistic images of hair rippling down a woman’s back. In fact, his entire depictions of women are fascinating.

These illustrations are of people.

As Williams himself said, when talking about one particularly compelling and gorgeous artwork of a woman getting ready to take a shower, she’s “a woman, attractive, whatever”: this is a person, not something to be objectified.

Adrian Williams makes his art a piece of real life, which also happens to be visually appealing.

Williams dabbles with the abstract by leaving everyone in his art faceless. This leaves plenty of room for interpretation, raising questions that beg for answers.

In one piece, why did the artist choose to make the boxcars out of wood and metal, but to draw a girl and a bird instead of also using physical materials to make them pop out of background?

In another piece, why is one continent shadowed and another white?

You can read into many of these pieces and derive a multitude of different understandings of what exactly it means.

On the other hand, you can also appreciate the art as something that would look fantastic in your living room.

Williams’ use of materials is innovative; a piece of wood with a rough edge becomes the perfect sleeve on an arm. A whole book is used as the surface for another work of art. The diagonal line extending from the shower to the outline of a woman’s back in the aforementioned washroom painting is also geometrically pleasing.

As a collection, the individual pieces don’t tie together to create a whole.

But when you don’t follow any particular set of rules, tying each individual piece together isn’t really necessary at all.

Published in Volume 64, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 11, 2010)

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