Aubrey Williams

Aubrey Williams

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Maya Series - Cenote (IV), 1968
Archival pigment print on Canson, Infinity Platine, Fibre Rag 310g paper 
16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 centimeters)
Edition of 10

©  Estate of Aubrey Williams, 2020.

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Williams - the eldest of seven - joined Guyana’s first formal art institution, the Working People’s Art Class, whilst still at school. Going on to train as an agricultural field officer, his work took him to the rainforest interior of Guyana where he lived for two years amongst the indigenous Warrau, an influential period Williams describes as crystalising for him ‘… what art really is’.
Williams arrived in London in 1952, and travelled extensively around Britain and Europe to examine first-hand the works of modernist painters admired since he began painting in his youth. His arrival came at a key period, when a group of Caribbean intellectual peers had begun to impact the capital with an injection of catalytic creativity - a forum coalescing as the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM), with Williams a founder member. From the 1950s to the 1980s Williams’ work was shown in group and solo exhibitions, both in London and abroad. By the 1980s Williams had also established studios in Jamaica and Florida, from where he delivered a tour de force of production - two astonishing series of large-scale paintings, both comprising around thirty works. In one, Williams expressed his life-long passion for the music of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich. In the other - The Olmec-Maya and Now - Williams drew on his deep knowledge of Mesoamerican cultures, merging this with abstraction and figuration. Williams concurrently produced two further bodies of work, one entitled, Cosmos, and an expansive collection of bird portraits.

Williams works are housed in public collections including Tate (UK); Arts Council (UK); Natural History Museum (London); Victoria and Albert Museum (London); St Catherine’s College Oxford (UK), National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston), National Collection of Guyana (Georgetown), Kadist Foundation (Paris), Everard Reid Gallery (Cape Town) and Perez Museum (Miami).