About
this
Website

This site focuses on the working process of visual artist Michael J. Williams. It includes updates on work in progress, research projects and exhibitions. Images of works for sale are posted regularly in the Gallery.

If you would like to talk to Michael about buying his work, please don’t hesitate to leave a message/comment on the contact page and you should have a response within 24 hours.

 

About this Website

This site focuses on the working process of visual artist Michael J. Williams. It includes updates on work in progress, research projects and exhibitions. Images of works for sale are posted regularly in the Gallery.

If you would like to talk to Michael about buying his work, please don’t hesitate to leave a message/comment on the contact page and you should have a response within 24 hours.

 

About my work

I have lived in North Norfolk for fifteen years. The connections between the area’s history and natural environment have been the focus of my work as a visual artist. I explore the complex layers that are the meeting point between landscape and human activity; the things that form the cornerstone of our visual and visceral experience of this idiosyncratic place.

Perhaps the most physical representations of these “connections” – and the elements that interests me most – are the chain of man-made pill boxes, defences, and bunkers; the majority of which were constructed in 1940 at the outset of WWII. There are 34 such structures between the villages of Kelling and Weybourne alone.

The work I have completed over the last 15 years consists of drawings, photographs, paintings and collages of a number of these buildings, sited mainly around the villages of Holme, Holkham, Weybourne and Salthouse. Concurrent with this period, I have made several visits to Berlin, where I have become aware of certain visual and intellectual links that connect with the wartime architecture I experience in Norfolk. My most recent work – mainly collage – attempts to make sense of the “connections” between these seemingly disparate places, in a contemporary Europe still coming to terms with the residue of its recent history.

About my work

I have lived in North Norfolk for fifteen years. The connections between the area’s history and natural environment have been the focus of my work as a visual artist. I explore the complex layers that are the meeting point between landscape and human activity; the things that form the cornerstone of our visual and visceral experience of this idiosyncratic place.

Perhaps the most physical representations of these “connections” – and the elements that interests me most – are the chain of man-made pill boxes, defences, and bunkers; the majority of which were constructed in 1940 at the outset of WWII. There are 34 such structures between the villages of Kelling and Weybourne alone.

The work I have completed over the last 15 years consists of drawings, photographs, paintings and collages of a number of these buildings, sited mainly around the villages of Holme, Holkham, Weybourne and Salthouse. Concurrent with this period, I have made several visits to Berlin, where I have become aware of certain visual and intellectual links that connect with the wartime architecture I experience in Norfolk. My most recent work – mainly collage – attempts to make sense of the “connections” between these seemingly disparate places, in a contemporary Europe still coming to terms with the residue of its recent history.

Research
methodo
logy

Research is the cornerstone of any artists work. For me, this can include visual and textual. I gather information through a variety of means including: Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, and written responses to things remembered and actual, while continuously looking at and informing myself of the work of others, both past and present.

European history of the early and mid-part of the 20thCentury, and the visual/intellectual residue left by that history, are of particular interest to me.  Since 2014 I have been exploring perceived links between vernacular architecture and landscapes that exist both in the East of England – where I now live – and in Berlin; a place where I tend to develop much of my collaborative work. Specifically, buildings that were constructed mainly between 1930 and 1960 that fall within the loose descriptor of Modernist – a descriptor that also provides a rich creative ideology for me as a Painter. In Berlin these buildings are all around; in Norfolk they are the hundreds of bunkers and pillboxes that litter the coast and hinterland; ironically sedentary reminders of relatively recent enmities that existed between Great Britain and Germany.

 

Two fundamental questions my work seeks to answer via an exploration of these buildings are:

 

  1. what are the present-day contexts of these buildings?

 

and

 

  1. Do Modernist ideas and approaches to visual art still have currency in the “Post-Modern” world?

 

The accusations of introspection and self-indulgence often used to defame Modernism as a genre are, in small part valid, but in another sense missing the fundamental, intellectual question of how one creative ideology ends and another seemingly without gradation begins. It is more realistic to say that we, as artists, move in an ideological soup, blending the various elements and ideas that permeate a much larger cross-section of times and periods. Gradually, approaches evolve and ideas either retain some validity or wither on the vine. So, for example, exploring the disparate connections between the works of Richard Diebenkorn and Albert Pinkham-Rider or Piero de la Francesca and Giorgio Morandi concurrently, should neither be a problem or a concern. It is simply an approach that allows us a much greater freedom to express and ultimately understand ourselves as Visual Artists.

 

Research therefore is as integral to informing creative thinking as a recipe is to the cooking of a particular dish with all its distinct flavours and textures. Without it there are no foundations on which to site your individual practise. It is what makes that practise the work of a particular artist or group of artists, it gives a resonant voice to ideas, and it underpins everything I do.

Research methodology

Research is the cornerstone of any artists work. For me, this can include visual and textual. I gather information through a variety of means including: Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, and written responses to things remembered and actual, while continuously looking at and informing myself of the work of others, both past and present.

European history of the early and mid-part of the 20thCentury, and the visual/intellectual residue left by that history, are of particular interest to me.  Since 2014 I have been exploring perceived links between vernacular architecture and landscapes that exist both in the East of England – where I now live – and in Berlin; a place where I tend to develop much of my collaborative work. Specifically, buildings that were constructed mainly between 1930 and 1960 that fall within the loose descriptor of Modernist – a descriptor that also provides a rich creative ideology for me as a Painter. In Berlin these buildings are all around; in Norfolk they are the hundreds of bunkers and pillboxes that litter the coast and hinterland; ironically sedentary reminders of relatively recent enmities that existed between Great Britain and Germany.

 

Two fundamental questions my work seeks to answer via an exploration of these buildings are:

 

  1. what are the present-day contexts of these buildings?

 

and

 

  1. Do Modernist ideas and approaches to visual art still have currency in the “Post-Modern” world?

 

The accusations of introspection and self-indulgence often used to defame Modernism as a genre are, in small part valid, but in another sense missing the fundamental, intellectual question of how one creative ideology ends and another seemingly without gradation begins. It is more realistic to say that we, as artists, move in an ideological soup, blending the various elements and ideas that permeate a much larger cross-section of times and periods. Gradually, approaches evolve and ideas either retain some validity or wither on the vine. So, for example, exploring the disparate connections between the works of Richard Diebenkorn and Albert Pinkham-Rider or Piero de la Francesca and Giorgio Morandi concurrently, should neither be a problem or a concern. It is simply an approach that allows us a much greater freedom to express and ultimately understand ourselves as Visual Artists.

 

Research therefore is as integral to informing creative thinking as a recipe is to the cooking of a particular dish with all its distinct flavours and textures. Without it there are no foundations on which to site your individual practise. It is what makes that practise the work of a particular artist or group of artists, it gives a resonant voice to ideas, and it underpins everything I do.