Dale Williams was raised in a working-class Catholic family in suburban Baltimore in the 1960s. In 7th grade a nun at the parochial school he attended introduced the class to drawing and painting with oil pastels. When he won an honorable mention for a work called “My Grave” in a school-wide exhibition he decided to keep making pictures.
Williams’s paintings, drawings, and books usually depict figures, largely imaginary, and often contain traces of writing, legible and illegible. His art aims to create a contemporary mythos – an imaginal way of understanding and explaining the world. The figures, and the work itself, bear evidence of distress: empathy for the beaten and lowly is embodied in these creations of emotional immediacy.
Williams has exhibited in venues in the New York City area, such as the Drawing Center, Kentler International Drawing Space, and the BRIC Rotunda Gallery. His last one-person show, “Fear Not To Appear”, which highlighted early work from 1980–1997, was held at Gowanus Loft in April 2016. His work has been published in Literal Latte, BOMB, Ecotone, the Weirderary, A Bad Penny Review and other print and online journals. He is a 2014 fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work is currently represented by the Vanderbilt Republic creative agency/artist cooperative.
Whatever we decide dreams might ultimately mean, they at least astound us by their manifold generosity. Their narratives and imagery compel our attention, bother us into ascribing meaning to them - whether we choose to follow their call or not.
I have chosen to follow the call of figural and narrative images in my work, and as with dreams, I think of them in relation to the world. They are my way of representing this world: a presidential election that exposes heretofore unwitnessed intolerance, violence, bigotry; a culture where fleeting reactions are tweeted/posted, drowning us in the shallow puddles of clamor; and occasionally the free clear light of happiness and the dread of its loss.
I don’t think art will solve the world, despite its wish. I stay tuned in for a deeper image, not knowing what it will look like. If I am lucky, I accept it, and then do what I can to facilitate its potential alchemy.
b. 1955, Baltimore, MD
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY