Cindy Williamson

artist artwork
A potter in origin, Cindy Williamson soon began exploring the emotive possibilities of figurative sculpture. The variety provided by a limitless combination of physical features, mannerism and context was appealing for an artist already fascinated with the interactive, tactile humanity of the medium. Williamson's primary subjects are commonplace, as she often references adolescents, baseball, and four legged creatures. However, the attraction to youthful figures speaks not only to a vitality translated through Williamson's energetic handling of clay, but also to the allure of purity in subject matter. Children and animals maintain an air of innocence even while shouldering the weight of psychologically complex issues. The elusive iconography of the subconscious is particular to each creator and Williamson chooses subjects that represent hope and comfort.

Quotidian activities and newfound interests are manifest in the characters of such pieces as Bottom of the Ninth. After discovering a passion for attending Bay Area baseball games, Williamson identified the similarities between the appeal of a sports game's crackling atmosphere and the hefty, active surface most utilized in her work. The constant absorption of found textures, be it decrepit buildings, gnarled wood or scarred metal, serves inspiration in the visual language with which she marks the clay. Having grown up in Northern California, her aesthetic relates to the often dense impasto of Joan Brown or the heady essentialism of David Park, both prominent members in the Bay Area Figurative painting movement. In much the same way these artists use conventional formats to explore immaterial ideas, Williamson hangs her work's materiality on its preliminary concept.

She explains, "The sheep was a series inspired by a personal goal of mine to work on patience. In totem animal symbolism, the sheep represents group, comfort, patience, warmth and rebirth.” For pieces that initially appear so thoroughly rooted in expressive technique, they are perhaps more challenging in their subjects' evocative simplicity. Williamson begins at “the soul of the piece," structuring the idea in the center of the work and building outward to the surface. The Zooba series, embody this notion, giving equal bearing to a saturated palette, a thick, tufted crust, and a concrete significance originating in the artist's understanding of content. In this way, some of the most engaging pieces draw on a merging of representative likeness and intensely colored metaphor; the comparison of physicality and narrative.