Featured Artist

By Dale Williams

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About Dale Williams

Dale Williams was raised in a working-class Catholic family in suburban Baltimore in the 1960s. In 7th grade a nun at the parochial school he attended introduced the class to drawing and painting with oil pastels. When he won an honorable mention for a work called “My Grave” in a school-wide exhibition he decided to keep making pictures.

Williams’s paintings, drawings, and books usually depict figures, largely imaginary, and often contain traces of writing, legible and illegible. His art aims to create a contemporary mythos – an imaginal way of understanding and explaining the world. The figures, and the work itself, bear evidence of distress: empathy for the beaten and lowly is embodied in these creations of emotional immediacy.

Williams has exhibited in venues in the New York City area for many years, such as the Drawing Center, Kentler International Drawing Space, and the BRIC Rotunda Gallery. His last one-person show, "Fear Not To Appear", which highlighted early work from 1980–1997, was held at Gowanus Loft in April 2016. His work has been published in BOMB, Ecotone, Weirderary, A Bad Penny Review and other print and online journals. He is a 2014 fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work is currently represented by the Vanderbilt Republic creative agency/artist cooperative.

Artist Statement on "Benefactor" (cover art)

Although "Benefactor" offers an image that is replete with intention, I had no clear idea of how it would look when I began. Images of deer have long had a grip on my imagination, such as the deer masks of Siberian shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism, and in works of western art that represent deer such as Pisanello’s and Albrecht Dürer’s pictures of St. Eustace. But preceding my interest in such images — and perhaps influential on my lifelong fascination with them — are two dreams from my youth.

In the first dream I can recall, from age five, I was chased off a cliff by a giant white deer. As I fell, I awoke, and thus this dream is as vivid now as the night I had it. In college I dreamed of a deer running towards me from the far distance of a wilderness solitude through the waters of a very shallow and wide river at dusk. As the deer neared me it fell, and gashed open its chest on a large rock. It sprang up instantly and continued to run, bleeding. As it passed, I said aloud to myself in the dream, "that’s me."

"Benefactor" is the first image I have ever made of a deer. The papers scattered on the ground are poems. I interpret these in two ways: the deer is unaware of its creativity and the writings are natural outpourings of its prolific nature; or, the deer in its battered state neglects its own creative abundance, perhaps as it has itself been neglected.

One Comment

  1. Anne Vinsel
    Posted January 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    This image made me submit “Wishing You Were Here” to the Literal Latte fiction competition. When Dennis, the multiple rapist-murderer told me how similar what he did was to deer hunting, and that he thought of his victims as deer, and I began collecting the big plastic deer hunt body bags called “Buck Baggers” that are in every drug and sporting goods store around our deer hunt season, Dale Williams’ image was in my mind; I just didn’t happen to do that painting myself.

    It is years later, and I believe his painting and my story should mate. If there is a way to send Dale a copy of the story, I’d appreciate it, or alternatively send me a safe email address for him. I don’t wish to put it on his web site, since I am submitting it to journals and contests. Thank you.

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