Landscape Portraiture by Warner Williams

Warner Williams is a California-based painter of what he terms “landscape portraiture.” Roughly a generation older than Danny Heller, there is a resemblance between the two practices, if only because California provides both with a similar color palette and architecture. Williams trained at Stanford, has exhibited widely across the Bay Area, and is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant.

From Williams’ vast portfolio, I’ve selected images that seem deadpan — they can be read as statements about development, particularly as manifested in California. Vast, unsustainable, unnatural, perhaps inhumane — Sysiphus, directly above, seems to illustrate the futility and artifice of this landscape. Portolets, immediately above that, form a menacing barrier between the viewer and the ocean behind them. The scene is rendered in super-saturated colors whose effect is more nauseating than cheerful.

Perhaps I’m projecting my own bias onto this highly edited set of paintings I’ve selected; see the full range for yourself. From the top: X Freeway, Trailer Home on Golf Course, Yellow House with Refinery, Portolets, and Sysiphus.

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3 thoughts on “Landscape Portraiture by Warner Williams

  1. Another great find, Maya. I’m not too crazy about his ‘Symbolist Works’ or ‘Portraits’, but these really hit the nail on the California’s head – each create such a believable, individually empathetic mood. Although you seem to be commenting on the subtext, these personally remind me driving through the hills of Bel Air, looking towards downtown LA – one of the few times I thought sprawl looked really beautiful (though, it was at night).

    I loved a ton of them, but thought ‘Shakers II’ [2002] was really good. Interesting that he’s incorporating some knowledge picked up from his contractor days into his work (fiberglass to make ‘3D’ imagery) – I’ve always thought people with varied life experiences (work history) bring so much more to their final chosen professional table.

  2. Pingback: Silver Lake Paintings by David Jonason « Visualingual

  3. Pingback: Suburban Paintings by David Imlay « Visualingual

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