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Unique African-American Voice Featured in Next Installment of Spoken Exhibition Series
10/10/2016 4:47:44 PM

The Columbia Museum of Art announces the intimate exhibition Making Maps: The Art of James Williams on view October 7, 2016 through March 12, 2017. Through a series of works drawing upon the ancient tradition of cartography, Williams acts as a traveler, using paint, ink, tape, graphite, and paper-weaving techniques to explore various spaces through maps of dense, layered color. This is the third and final iteration of Spoken, an exhibition series which highlights the unique perspectives and powerful voices of African-American artists, many of whom are represented in the museum’s collection.

A former standout football player turned teaching artist, Williams works and resides in his hometown of Greensboro, N.C. and is an associate art professor at Guilford Technical Community College’s Jamestown campus. His multimedia, abstract-expressionistic work uses cartography as a means of exploring, interpreting, and understanding daily life.

“What we see with Making Maps is an artist whose work is as much about technique and intellectual exercise of craft as it is about exploring this central theme of making maps as a means to process one's life,” says CMA Consulting Curator Porchia Moore, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Carolina. “In this regard, the exhibition forces us to think about notions of blackness not as a primary mechanism for accessing the work, but of the artist himself and, more importantly, his technique and style of creating art. Williams is part of a long tradition of abstract-expressionist action painters, such as Sam Gilliam, whose work is often ignored and/or challenging to understand because there are no clear or easily identifiable ‘black’ themes.”

Moore leads a gallery talk on Making Maps during ArtBreak on October 11. The Wired Goat pop-up café offers pastries and coffee beginning at 10:30 a.m. The program, free with membership or admission, begins at 11:00 a.m. and is sponsored in part through the Leslie’s Legacy Fund.

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