Justin B. Williams @ Monument 2

Despite what you may have read, Justin B. Williams is not dead.

The lengthy and entertaining accompanying text for his latest exhibition Justin B. Williams: The last paintings (1985-2010) at Monument 2 describes the art-heroic discovery by Nevin Thomlison of the last paintings Justin executed before his equally heroic death saving a child from an out of control vehicle. Whether this was a little prank or sketchy, stretchy reference to a deceased doppelgänger, I don’t know – in any case, it probably scared some old friends and framed the work nicely in romance, innocence, and adolescence.

The show hangs like a collection of smaller projects, with framed clippings and sketches (adorned with increasingly ubiquitous clear polymer mystery goop), floor-displayed gridded micro-paintings, surface experiments and big, mostly straight-material oil paintings. The works are brought together by the artist’s unmistakable composition, his low saturation palette and impulsive, cartoony warble lines. When put all together in the big paintings, the results are intense overgrown gardens of activity. The variety of approaches is a good thing, implying progress and ambition, so I have a feeling these paintings won’t be Williams last.

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Justin B. Williams

Its rough that these works were only up for a night, as a few are complex enough to want to get back and chew through their layers and relationships. The central, thematic content Williams is using is exciting to see, both in the dense paintings and the sparse surfacey sandboxes, where it drives the material experiments in a way that shows purpose slightly more than play.

I give it a:


Justin B. Williams: The last paintings (1985-2010) was a one night exhibition on Saturday, June 12th @ Monument 2, 2007 N Point St.

Comments 6

  1. Jackson Bollocks wrote:

    Considering Justin showed up later in the night, dressed in all-black, completely in drag and makeup (I think he was going for the goth look?) should warrant a higher review. Or perhaps a lower one, I’m not sure.

    Not sure what that guy is up to…

    Posted 16 Jun 2010 at 9:27 PM
  2. Steve Ruiz wrote:

    No shit! That’s awesome, wish I’d stayed longer I guess.

    Posted 16 Jun 2010 at 10:07 PM
  3. Not Funny wrote:

    Frankly, I found the press release ( which I read here: http://proximitymagazine.com/2010/06/justin-b-williams-monument-2-gallery/ couldn’t find it on the monument website) written in BAD TASTE. I had seen some of Justin’s work before, even met the guy a few times, and was deeply saddened by the news when I read it. It seems more like a publicity stunt than anything, maybe a young artist trying to attract attention? I for one, and I don’t think I am alone, think that death isn’t really something to be joked about. The whole thing reminds me of some kid trying to boost his own ego. No class.

    Posted 17 Jun 2010 at 2:08 PM
  4. Jason wrote:

    I did not attend the show because I thought it was actually a memorial, and a memorial exhibition doesn’t sound like a fun thing at all (people crying, people speaking softly, people talking kindly about the art even if it sucks). So the artist’s cute scheme kind of failed.

    Posted 18 Jun 2010 at 7:27 AM
  5. John wrote:

    What some people seem to be missing is that maybe the whole scheme had to do with the artist’s intention of experimenting with information dissemination. Playfully using his own death as a jumping off point- through one essay (which if anyone had read, was CLEARLY a joke) Justin perpetuated a rumor that circulated pretty widely in a manner of hours.

    People who had received the news seemed to be divided into groups that gleefully helped spread the rumor (people that were “in on it”) people who reacted with hostility (see the “Not Funny” guy) people who were saddened and touched by the news, and then everyone else who either “got it” or caught wind of the exhibition and didn’t think twice about it. The point is, whatever you think of the work or the tactics, is that the exhibition, through the press release took on the form of something bigger, specifically through the mechanism of “the rumor”.

    That being said, I think that this was an interesting show.

    My two cents.

    Posted 20 Jun 2010 at 5:36 PM
  6. mike s wrote:

    i’m glad you’re not dead justin!

    Posted 09 Aug 2010 at 12:03 PM

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