© Peter Williams. Photograph and digital image © Delaware Art Museum. Not for reproduction or publication.
Smile
Date: 2016
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: each: 36 × 48 in. (91.4 × 121.9 cm) 72 × 144 in. (182.9 × 365.8 cm)
Credit Line: F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 2016
Object Number: 2016-42
About: Peter William's practice is directly informed by his examination of contemporary social structures, and he equates his role as an artist to that of a documentarian. In the same way political illustrations from the 1960s and 1970s provided a space in which to depict the imperatives of race and gender-based interest groups, Peter’s paintings portray current events in a manner that invites reflection and action. This six-panel painting, Smile, was completed during Peter’s summer 2016 residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. The work references New Orleans, its history, colors, and architecture and the 1811 slave rebellion—one of the largest in United States history—that took place in the city. Peter presents these references in a stage-like composition with the figures connected by structures informed by minimalism and pattern and decoration painting of the 1970s.
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