Michael Williams (b. 1978, Doylestown, Pennsylvania) negotiates the long history of painting by consistently questioning—and often undoing—its major components. Challenging himself with an ever-evolving set of formal problems, he produces images that reflect modern complexity and contradiction. Recent works have been made using a variety of different materials and tools, including oil paint, collage, and airbrushes; some have been composed on a computer using Photoshop and a digital drawing pad before being inkjet-printed onto canvas. In the execution of his images Williams twists together a balance of offhanded gesture and careful compositional rigor, making decisions that keep his paintings willfully misoriented. As art historian Richard Shiff notes, “[Williams’s] art is infectious in causing others to ponder the importance—or not—of anything. It’s a start-all-over-again art for a start-all-over-again life.”
Michael Williams has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at LOK, the Kunstzone in the Lokremise, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Switzerland (2021); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (with Tobias Pils, 2017); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2017); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada (2015); and Gallery Met, New York (2015). Recent group shows include .paint, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Joe Bradley, Oscar Tuazon, Michael Williams, Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2018); The Trick Brain, Aïshti Foundation, Lebanon (2017); High Anxiety: New Acquisitions, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016); Artists and Poets, Secession, Vienna (2015); and The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014). His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Canada. Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.