Santa Rosa, CA
Franklin Williams has been identified with at least five movements over the course of his fifty-year career: Funk Art, Nut Art, Visionary Art, Pattern and Decoration, and Gaudy Art.
While it is true that his work has always been highly personal, leading him to find inspiration in unconventional sources, it lacks the trend-bucking contrarian impulse so central to Funk, especially the UC Davis contingent. Even during the 1960s, when Williams briefly indulged in extravagant whimsy, his attitude seems to have been utterly devoid of guile, expressing none of Funk’s neo-Dadaist cynical humor or faux-naiveté. As early as 1970, Williams began addressing without irony the most serious of themes: life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and evil, often presented within the same painting. And as for rigor, that very quality has been from the beginning a defining feature of his art.
Viewed in its entirety, Williams’s oeuvre appears to have evolved out of a slow, accretionary process by way of intense introspection and meticulous technique.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.