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.