Sun + Light

Sun + Light: Charles Edward Williams
February 2 to May 19, 2019

American Dream, 2017, Mixed Media

American Dream, 2017, Mixed Media

Sun + Light is a collection of works from the series Everyone Loves the Sunshine by contemporary visual artist Charles Edward Williams. The art in the Sun + Light juxtaposes Williams’ own personal encounters, past and present, with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Here, Williams attempts to strike a balance between both the peaceful and violent protests of the movement and of varied expressions of power. He recounts stories told to him by his grandmother about this specific period in U.S. history and about the belief she passed down to him and that would guide his work: “stay in the light, stay positive.”

Raised in Georgetown, South Carolina, Williams received a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and an MFA from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, NC. Since that time, he has created compelling imagery in oils, video and film, and sound installations, using his work to investigate current and historical cultural events related to racism and to grapple with the issues of racial stereotypes. Examinations of self–representation and cultural identity, Williams’ multimedia works employ visual and emotional tension to expose complexities within our sociopolitical environments. Through his visions, we are encouraged to engage in self-examination, to question the false boundaries that separate us, and to view the interconnectedness of our common existence.

Much in this way, the terms “sun” and “light” in the exhibition title reference qualities of God and divine love, of physical warmth, of nurture, and of growth for all living beings. The work in this show is further inspired by the expressive and abstract paintings of Franz Kline and the color theories of Joseph Albers. Indeed, Williams explores the psychology of color in his images, such that yellow — perhaps most significantly — represents observance, curiosity, and cheerfulness. Williams recognizes that we all hope to find our places in the sun.