Oakland, California based painter Warner Williams has earned his fair share of success since beginning his career in the 1970s, but you won’t find him on any lists of major Pop art players. Williams considers himself as an outsider of the contemporary movement: “I chose a 35,000 year-old tradition of painting as an alternative. I believe in sacred geometry, significant form, and the spirit resonance of color,” he says, applying this philosophy to create brilliantly colored oil paintings that remix California’s landscape.
Using an exaggerated palette and well-defined shadows, Williams’ paintings push the limit of color and perspective. His images often feature expressions of post-war architecture; ordinary apartment buildings, empty lots, super highways, and swimming pools, made special by their glowing vibrancy and abstracted in their simplicity. He seems to have love-hate relationship with California. On one hand, his work elevates the familiar, but it also reflects the landscape’s change as new developments take over. He calls the places in his works as a “beloved mundane”, painted in response to California’s architectural beauties and horrors.
“My work is about light and space. Sometimes my work is symbolic. The basis is a geometric, linear division of space, like the facets of a gem. The interactions and proportions of colors within those divisions will re-create the components of a beam of light,” he explains. “The space is tactile, touchable, plastic. I seek an art that recedes from the viewer, pulls them in, rather than the usual assertive space. A main principle is unity of space, light, form and expression. My influences were Botticelli, Vermeer, Seurat, Matisse, and Rothko. I want to redo Rothko from nature.”