Shoe Bits at Sunset
oil and acrylic on canvas
208 × 335 cm
Inv. No. 0055
Sue Williams exercises her feminist criticism by means of the classic form of expression: painting. The two pictures not only document two important phases of her work, but also the formal tensions within her oeuvre. Mister from 1994 comes from a time when Sue Williams’ pictures were narrative and expressive, compressed like a cartoon, brutal and raw. The artist was arguing from a position of strategic, personal conflict-solving, and painted the history of the battle of the sexes and family horror. The picture of latent misogyny in society is constructed from visual allusions and commentary-like textual fragments, presented both with the anger and humour derived from painful personal experience. A B-movie between porno and caricature plays across the graffiti screen of Sue Williams’ pictures, which trivialises the trauma of the words and gestures with magisterial control.
Other works are wonderful, apparently abstract all-overs, which give the impression of a travesty of the action painting of the American art and macho legend, Jackson Pollock. Williams abstracts body and texts into complex pictorial patterns. The loose net of coloured lines, colour splashes, openings and compactions join gestural mobility and automatism with controlled production. The content of her work, with its aggressive and pointed feminist criticism of our society, is of enduring explosiveness. In addition, Williams makes a new contribution to the history and theory of painting by making certain male-dominated concerns in this medium appear irrelevant or even ridiculous.
Brigitte Huck, 2005 (translation: Tim Sharp)Continue reading
Wallpaper #1, evn sammlung, Maria Enzersdorf, 2018
Nach Rokytník. The collection of EVN, MUMOK, Vienna, 2005
Sue Williams: Art for the Instititution and the Home, IVAM, Valencia, 2003
Sue Williams, Secession Wien, Vienna, 2002
Brünn-Wien-Prag, Haus der Kunst der Stadt Brünn, Brno, 1999
Sue Williams: Art for the institution and the home [Secession, Vienna, 22.11.2002 – 2.2.2003, Ivam, Valencia, 15.5. – 6.7.2003], Vienna 2002, p. 74 f