Peter Williams @ Novella

Peter Williams, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 30 × 40 inches (courtesy Novella
Peter Williams, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 30 × 40 inches (courtesy Novella Gallery)

Sara Roffino reviews a recent show of paintings by Peter Williams at Novella Gallery, New York.

Roffino writes: "If one were to glance briefly at Williams’s works, the bright palette and carnivalesque scenes might belie the violence depicted. And, even after spending time with the paintings, processing that violence and thinking about the very real murders they depict, the elements of humor allow the viewer an out. Though the moment of Eric Garner’s death is depicted in 'Untitled' (30-by-40 inches), the brutal violence of that moment is offset both formally and ideologically with a close-up of the police officer’s pink (and hairy) butt crack, bulging forth from his belted uniform. It’s a challenging—perhaps subversive—gesture Williams is offering to his viewers, the absurdity softening the potentially didactic nature of the works."