Manoir de Kerlaouen, Lesneven ⎹ Sweet Dreams

Philemona Williamson

30 May — 26 Aug 2024

‘Sweet Dreams’ is the first monographic exhibition at a European institution by Philemona Williamson. Williamson, born in 1951 in New York, taught in Schools of Art in the United States and influenced many artists of the younger generations. She came from a modest Afro-American family and in the 1970s studied at Bennington College, then at New York University, resisting the siren calls to minimalism and abstraction very much in vogue at the time. She exhibited in many United States institutions and was awarded the Joan Mitchell Prize In 1997.

Her works all have a story, often personal, sometimes anecdotal. Williamson depicts an America at times full of hope, at times cruel, through the everyday and private lives of adolescents, children and young people. She seeks to transcribe that delicate and so ephemeral moment of the passage to adult life, that moment when children’s games become out of step, out of date or embarrassing. Her figurative paintings are warm and colourful, they attract the eye which tries to understand the narrative in the details. Often, symbolic markers of childhood such as dolls or games are represented, clearly shown in the abundance of movements and shapes. The bodies are black and white, evoking a mixed-race America. The beauty of Williamson’s works lies in the universality of her compositions, in her almost dreamed-up colours and in the infinity of possible interpretations – everyone can project onto them their own joys, pleasures and sorrows.

The title ‘Sweet Dreams’ is taken from a delicious painting on show in the exhibition: two adolescent girls seem to be dreaming of a profusion of cupcakes – those typically American cakes whose appearance overrides... [lire plus]

Passerelle would like to thank the Galerie Semiose, Paris, for their support.

An exhibition presented by Loïc Le Gall, Director de Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest