The McKee Gallery is presently exhibiting new work by British artist Lucy Williams in “Festival,” her fourth exhibition in New York.
Lucy Williams is interested in early 20th century modernist design. She collects photographs (mostly black and white) of modernist buildings and interiors, which she then transforms and abstracts into three-dimensional relief through her own sense of space, color and inventive use of diverse materials. These may include balsa wood, card, Plexiglas, wool embroidery, acrylic paint, cork and paper.
view of the exhibit installation at the McKee Gallery
The title ‘Festival’ recalls the exciting ‘Festival of Britain’ held in London in 1951, where a new feeling of optimism, purpose and social responsibility was conveyed in modernist architecture, sculpture and design. This surprising and daring event was organized to inspire a public recovering from the trauma of war and trapped in the gray austerity of post-war Britain. International modernism was embraced by a new generation looking forward to modern homes and a comfortable, colorful lifestyle
Lucy Williams embraces their utopian vision of color and positive purpose, restoring the memory of architects and designers such as Leslie Martin, architect of the Royal Festival Hall, and Sir Basil Spence, who designed the thrilling Sea and Ships Pavilion for the Festival. Their designs, among many others, broke new ground, and allow Williams to enjoy their idiosyncratic edge and economy and to explore profound ideas in her own work.
Below are several new pieces from ‘Festival’ at The McKee Gallery from May 1 – June 20, 2014.
66 Frognal 2014, Miniature red house bricks, Plexiglas, paper, card, cork, balsa wood, piano wire, scenic polyester voile, grass effect scenic mat, silver colored card and acrylic paint on board. 19 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches 50 x 80 x 3 cm:
Terminal 3 2014, Wool, tapestry canvas, miniature red house bricks, miniature flagstones, mortar, Plexiglas, paper, card, cork, piano wire, MDF, walnut veneer, silver colored card and acrylic paint on board. 19 7/8 x 27 3/4 x 1 3/8 inches 50.5 x 70.5 x 3.5 cm:
Great Arthur House
2014, Plexiglas, paper, cork, corrugated polystyrene, balsa wood, birch and walnut veneers, bronze colored card and acrylic paint on board. 26 x 26 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches 66 x 67 x 4 cm:
2014, Paper, card, Plexiglas, MDF, conté crayon on cast Jesmonite panel, cork, polished concrete effect vinyl flooring, piano wire, walnut and sapele veneers, styrene strip, silvered colored card and acrylic paint on board. 16 1/2 x 27 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches 42 x 70 x 3 cm:
Gate No. 9
2014, Wool, tapestry canvas, Plexiglas, paper, card, cork, MDF, miniature flagstones, mortar, miniature red house bricks, walnut veneer, silver colored card and acrylic paint on board. 14 3/8 x 16 3/8 x 1 1/4 inches 36.5 x 41.5 x 3 cm:
2014, Plexiglas, paper, cork, obeche strip wood and acrylic paint on board. 16 3/8 x 35 1/2 x 1 3/8 inches 41.5 x 90 x 3.5 cm:
2013, Plexiglas, cork, balsa wood, paper, card, walnut veneer, silver colored card and acrylic paint on board. 29 1/2 x 46 7/8 x 1 3/8 inches 75 x 119 x 3.5 cm:
2013, Plexiglas, paper, card, cork, balsa wood, piano wire, gold and silver colored card, gold thread, cotton thread and acrylic paint on board. 11 5/8 x 14 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches 29.5 x 36 x 4 cm:
shown at top: Bousfield School, 2013, Paper, card, Plexiglas, cork, gravel effect scenic mat, silver colored card and acrylic paint on board. 15 3/4 x 23 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches 40 x 59.5 x 3 cm
A long time fan of her work, I hadn’t yet gotten around to blogging about it, so I want to share with you some of my favorite pieces of her earlier work here as well. Take a look.
Works from 2011-2012:
The Sonneveld House, 2012, 28 1/4 x 27 1/2 in., Mixed media:
Herrick Court, 2012, 30 1/4 x 31 1/8 in, Mixed media:
Parkleys, 2011, 25 3/4 x 20 1/2 in., Mixed media:
Works from 2005-2010:
Pavilion 2010, mixed media, 25 x 36 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches (63.5 x 92 x 8.5 cms):
Summerhouse 2010, mixed media 25 3/4 x 31 5/8 x 3 3/8 inches (65.5 x 80.5 x 8.5 cms):
House of Glass at Twilight 2009, mixed media 27 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 2 inches (70 x 85 x 5 cms):
Parkhaus 2008, mixed media:
The Study, 2007, 28 1/8 x 46 1/4 in., Mixed media on board:
Frankfurt Airport 2006, mixed media:
Purfina 2006, mixed media 12 5/8 x 18 x 1/2 inches:
The Glass-Walled House in Summer 2005:
Park Hotel 2004, mixed media:
Building for a Better Tomorrow 2004, mixed media:
The Retreat 2004:
About the artist:
British artist Lucy Williams redefines the concept of collage through her intricate mixed media bas reliefs depicting deserted scenes of mid 20th century Modernist architecture. Her works are a fine balance: structurally and in the tension between the precision and masculinity of the stark utopian architecture that is re-invested with humanity through the painstaking and traditionally feminine domain of craft. Ultimately, Williams’s primary interest lies in the interplay of representation that the Modernist source material so lends itself to in descriptions of geometric and modular blocks of material and colour.
Born in Oxford in 1972, Williams studied at Glasgow School of Fine Art before obtaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Royal Academy in 2003. She has exhibited internationally with solo shows including Beneath a woollen sky, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London (2007) and The Day the Earth Stood Still and Stranger than Paradise, both at McKee Gallery, New York (2006 and 2004 respectively). Group shows have included Out of Line: Drawings from the Collection of Sherry and Joel Mallin, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, New York (2006) and Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2008).
Williams currently lives and works in London. (courtesy of Timothy Taylor Gallery)
If you’re in new York, make sure you stop by and check out the exhibit at the McKee Gallery
745 Fifth Ave
New York, New York