Crossing continents: Aubrey Williams and the art of being contemporary – lecture by Leon Wainwright
audiovisual room, ms2, 19 Ogrodowa St
The paintings of Aubrey Williams occupy several different stories of art. One story is about the evolution of British painting in the mid-twentieth century. Another is about the way that people of African descent have struggled and pressed for their freedom, sparking with modern creativity. Yet another story has passages on Britain and Guyana, Jamaica, South America, and the United States, pulling in all those settings around the Atlantic where Aubrey Williams lived and worked, and where he exhibited his art. These are stories about what it has meant to be in several places at once as an artist, in a brilliant composite of narratives. In this presentation, Williams is introduced with an eye on his contemporaries (not least to Frank Bowling and to the art of Pop) as well as in his historical context. It also enlarges on a complex geography – both physical and cultural – that crosses continents, leading in the end to Łódź.
Leon Wainwright is Professor of Art History at The Open University. A recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize in the History of Art, his research is interdisciplinary and has a transatlantic scope. He has brought out seven books, including the single-authored titles Timed Out: Art and the Transnational Caribbean (2011) and Phenomenal Difference: A Philosophy of Black British Art (2017) and together with Paul Wood and Charles Harrison, the latest volume in the successful series of anthologies Art in Theory: The West in the World (2021).