June 9 to September 27, 2015
Contemporary Art Square
Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion
Level S2

This exhibition – the first devoted to this emerging artist in Canada – featured a dozen paintings and a group of about sixty drawings.

Many observers of his recent art production have remarked on the eclecticism typical of his iconography and the connection of his images to graffiti and popular culture. Over the past ten years, Williams, who has settled in New York, has developed a unique approach to painting that is intuitive yet disciplined, free and irreverent. Each of his canvases, which are visually very complex, is conceived like a tapestry and executed using various methods of applying image and colour. Combining technology with more traditional approaches, he favours digital tools to compose his images. The drawings and paintings selected for the exhibition testify in different ways to this overabundance of painting, which reveals formal exaggeration and speaks to the decontextualization of language.

The public is also invited to visit the galleries of contemporary art featuring the permanent collection to discover Williams’s Eddie McStiff’s Is Serving Lunch at the Wake and Bake (2012-2013, acrylic, oil and alkyd resin on canvas, 257 x 200.8 cm), a promised gift to the Museum.

Michael Williams was born in 1978 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. After studying sculpture at Washington University, Saint Louis (2000), he turned to painting. His practice attracted attention in 2003, when he took part in a first group exhibition entitled Barkley’s Barnyard Critters at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Since then, his output has continued to fascinate everyone interested in the renewal of painting. He was invited to participate in the collective exhibition Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World recently presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A lavishly illustrated monograph (64 pp.) on the artist has been published by JRP|Ringier (Zurich). It includes an essay by George Pendle and an interview with the artist by Dan Nadel. It will be available for sale at the Museum Boutique and Bookstore.

The exhibitions presented in the Contemporary Art Square benefit from the support of the RBC Foundation, the Museum’s Volunteer Association and the Young Philanthropists’ Circle.

Michael Williams

Michael Williams, Man, 2015. Private Collection.