Madeline Wolff, contributor
The Main Gallery opened its doors to an exquisite sight Saturday, Feb. 20 to an exhibition highlighting the works of Robert Williams.
The current exhibition, entitled “Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical,” utilizes paintings, prints and sculptures to display Williams’s transition into a more abstract theme.
Williams’ work features graphic surrealist elements, including references from cartoons, movie posters and trading cards. His subject matter is often graphic, politically motivated — or both — his art is considered to be controversial in many artistic arenas.
The exhibit is impressive on several levels. Not only is it to be respected that CSUN could attract such an artistic power as Williams, but the curator did an excellent job. Stark white walls intertwined with several red walls accent the colors in the artwork brilliantly, and the lighting perfectly highlights the artwork in all of its splendor.
One of his more famous works from the series, “Brute Waste (This is an Irresistible Impulse to Leave no Sanctum Unspoiled)” sits in the center of the front room of the gallery, centered and holding a spotlight.
The piece — a large, white male figure with giant hooves for feet and a proportionally tiny, blindfolded head—holds a torch to light fire to the Earth made from fiber glass and steel and painted with acrylic enamel.
“Brute Waste” and “Diamond in a Goat’s Ass” are the first sculptures Williams ever displayed, and they do not disappoint. Keeping in tune with the rest of his works, they exude a cartoon quality elevated by keen artistic ability, social commentary and bold use of color.
Williams draws an impressive audience; as he is based in the San Fernando Valley. There is no doubt that his largest fan base is in Los Angeles, and it is a lovely treat that our campus is hosting his artwork for six weeks.
The exhibition is a must-see. The paintings and sculptures truly come alive in person. The vibrancy is unparalleled and impossible to recreate in a photograph or scan. Also, be sure to pick up one or three of the flyers sitting out—they’re collector’s items.
“Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical” is on display in the main gallery at CSUN (on N. University Dr.) until April 3, 2010. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 12-4 PM and Thursday 12-8 PM. For group tours, please call 818-677-2156.