On the occasion of the exhibition New Paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Michael Williams, writer and curator Francesca Gavin posed a few questions to the artist about his creative process and what’s behind this new production of works.
FRANCESCA GAVIN Tell me about what you find interesting about the overlaps, differences, advantages and disadvantages of the relationship between painting and photography?
MICHAEL WILLIAMS I look at photographers and they seem so cavalier and to be able to sort of walk around and spend their days doing whatever they like. So I’m jealous of them. Us painters need to put in the hours in our studios away from the world, outside of society. We become these kinds of rejects. Photographers, at least in my imagination, can be social and spend their time going to see things and places, which they find interesting and their work just bubbles out of that. And of course my jealousy extends to their ability to look at something and have that be their entire process, it’s just the fun parts. And even though they do so little they get a lot of credit for being intelligent, for looking at the right things in the right way. As painters, all of our handwork just becomes barriers that need to be parsed and seen through in order to find and get to something as simple and pure as the economy of delivery of meaning and content which a photograph is privileged with. So with these new paintings I take the aspects of photography that I envy and steal them for painting.