Scenes and Smoke: Justin Williams

The image shows a painting hanging on a wall. The painting shows three figures sitting under two trees, the central figure is an old man smoking a water pipe; the figure on the right a naked women sitting with the back towards the viewer. It is an art work by Justin Williams, shown in his exhibition at Galerie Crèvecœur, 2022.
Justin Williams, Viridian led light – Sassafras Creek Road, 2022, installation view, Galerie Crèvecœuer, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris. Photo: Martin Argyroglo.

Review
Justin Williams
September 3 – October 8, 2022
Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris

Gaugin with an Egyptian touch. Matisse’s paper-cuts in acrylic.

Scratched colour, like we used to do with wax crayons when we were children. But these are no crayons. Justin Williams applies numerous layers of colour, drawing an image and then scratching it out. A lengthy process, imbuing the works with time.

The faces of the figures are particularly interesting: immersed, self-assured, eternal. The paintings are strangely static, meditative, seemingly resting in their own sense of time.

The image shows the upper body of a man with long dark hair and beard, smoking a pipe, in front of a turquoise background. It is a painting by Justin Williams.
Justin Williams, Apricot, 2022, detail. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris. Photo: Aurèlien Mole.

These are characters, whether real or made up for a story is secondary. They are curiously confrontative but remain inaccessible as if their world was not to be entered. And always this smoke.

These are dynamic, deep, gentle paintings; happy, but with a somber touch. Something eery in this halted air where only the smoke seems to move.

Born in Australia with Egyptian descent, the cultures seem to fuse in Justin Williams’ paintings. Just as they did in Matisse’s odalisques. Flowers here and there, some Monet in the falling shades of green, some Henri Rousseau in the animals’s faces. Matched with the Australian coolness of the LORD GARDEN MAINTANENCE.

Oranges and snakes, pipes and water pipes, jeans and morning gowns; flowers and fish. Iconography and invention.

The image shows a large room with white walls and floor and three paintings hanging on the walls. It is an installation view of the exhibition 'Justin Williams' at Galerie Crèvecœur in Paris, 2022.
Justin Williams, installation view, Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris. Photo: Martin Argyroglo.