Kent Robert Williams is an American contemporary figurative painter and graphic novel artist, born in 1962 in New Bern, North Carolina. He also works in printmaking, photography, design, architecture and film.
Represented by The Merry Karnowsky Gallery, the artist has participated in numerous individual and collective exhibitions. One of his first solo shows was held in 1995.
Primarily a figurative painter, Williams also experimented with the graphic novel, printmaking, photography, design, architecture and film. In 1991, Kent Williams: Drawings & Monotypes, a collection of his works on paper was printed.
Ten years later, Koan: Paintings by Jon J Muth & Kent Williams came out of print.
However, the most comprehensive collection of his works is Kent Williams, Amalgam: Paintings & Drawings, 1992-2007, which also features the text by Edward Lucie-Smith and Julia Morton.
The rest of his work can be seen in two other books: Eklektikos, published in 2011, with text by Peter Frank and Alex Ross, and Kent Williams: Ophthalm from 2013.
His style can be described as bold realism, with some elements of abstraction and the sensitivity of neo-expressionism. Williams treats his subjects in a subjective and intense manner. The autobiographical narrative is often present in his paintings. Subtle narrative and symbolism serve to show what ties us together as humans, with all flaws and virtues. The artist attempts to present the portraits of ourselves, honest and powerful.
Williams regularly contributed to Marvel Comics’ Epic Illustrated from 1983 to 1985. In 1987, he worked together with writer J. M. DeMatteis on Blood: A Tale.
A year later, he collaborated with writers Walt and Louise Simonson, and artist Jon J Muth on Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown.
He also frequently worked as a cover artist for Vertigo’s Hellblazer. A graphic novel adaptation of The Fountain from the script by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was illustrated by the artist in 2006.
He went to the Pratt Institute in New York and completed his studies in 1984. Later on, he started working as a visiting instructor at the same institution. Apart from the Pratt Institute, the artist taught at The California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California; East Carolina University in Greenville, Nort Carolina and The California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
Now, he works at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and teaches contemporary figurative painting, in addition to mentoring at the Laguna College of Art and Design.
The artist has exhibited his work in numerous individual and collective shows. Some of his solo exhibitions were held at Blanc Gallery, Manila, Philippines; Merry Karnowsky Gallery, LA; Daniel Maghen Galerie & Editions, Paris, France; Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, MD; and Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin, Germany, to name a few.
One of his latest solo shows titled How Human of You was on view at 101/EXHIBIT West Hollywood space in October 2014.
He received many awards for his work. One of them is The Yellow Kid, Lucca, the Italian comics award.
Sundance Filmmakers Lab in Sundance, Utah invited him to be a fellow in 2001.
Portrait Photography Credits Sampsel Preston Photography
Images Courtesy © Kent Williams
|2015||Samurai||Worcester Art Museum, Worchester, MA||Group|
|2014||Etudes avant Peintures||Societe Danisco-Dupont, Paris, France||Solo|
|2014||How Human of You||101Exhibit, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2014||Re-Presenting the Nude III||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2013||Ophthalm: New Drawings & paintings||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Solo|
|2013||Flip Side: LCAD Faculty Exhibition||Gallery 793, Laguna College of Art + Design, Laguna Beach, CA||Group|
|2012||Afar: Paintings and Drawings from a Private Collection||Blanc Gallery, Manila, Philippines||Solo|
|2012||The Contemporary Figure: Past Presence||MOAH: Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA||Group|
|2012||Re-Presenting the Nude II||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2012||Veneris XIII||Skotia Gallery, Culver City, CA||Group|
|2012||Hooker: Group Exhibition curated by Natalia Fabia||Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA||Group|
|2012||Interlopers: Works on Paper||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2011||Convergence||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2011||Exposition de Kent Williams||Daniel Maghen Galerie & Editions, Paris, France||Solo|
|2011||Made in Polaroid||Phillips de Pury, New York, NY||Group|
|2011||Zero to Sixty||Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA||Group|
|2010||Eklektikos||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Solo|
|2010||Autumn Leaves||Galerie Van Campen & Rochtus, Antwerp, Belgium||Group|
|2010||Art of the New World||Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, UK||Group|
|2010||Re-Presenting the Nude||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2010||Draw: Mexico City||Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City||Group|
|2010||101 Exhibit Group Show||101 Exhibit, Miami, FL||Group|
|2010||Hybrid Project||Avenue 50 Studio, Highland Park, CA||Group|
|2010||Survey Select: Narrative Art Exhibition||Wonder Bread Factory, San Diego, CA||Group|
|2009||Kent Williams and Javier Marin||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2009||The Human Eclectic: An Exhibition Curated by Kent Williams||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2009||Model||Galerie Van Campen & Rochtus, Antwerp, Belgium||Group|
|2009||Kokoeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy||Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2009||Grand Opening Exhibition||Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM||Group|
|2009||Summerexposition||Galerie Van Campen & Rochtus, Antwerp, Belgium||Group|
|2008||Kent Williams at Merry Karnowsky Gallery Berlin||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin, Germany||Solo|
|2008||Swim in the Deep Water||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2008||All Apologies||LA Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2008||In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor||Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA||Group|
|2008||Hard Left: The Inaugural Exhibition of the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin, Germany||Group|
|2007||In Animate||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2007||Decade: Merry Karnowsky Gallery 10th Year Anniversary Exhibition||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2006||Amalgam||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2006||Outwin Boochever Portrait Painting and Sculpture Exhibition||Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC||Group|
|2006||The Collectors Show||Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR||Group|
|2006||Beyond Representation||Scion Dashboard, San Francisco, CA||Group|
|2005||Solus+||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2005||Solus||Artspace, Raleigh, NC||Solo|
|2005||Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper||Forum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2004||Recent Works by Kent Williams and Justin Wood||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|2002||Works on Paper||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2002||No Bodies: Landscapes||Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, MD||Solo|
|2002||Drawings, Paintings, Sculptures||Upper Playground, San Francisco, CA||Solo|
|2001||Koan Paintings and Other Selected Works||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|2001||Exhibition coinciding with the Sundance Film Festival||Sundance Institute, Sundance, Utah||Solo|
|2000||Critic’s Choice: Julia Morton||Duke University Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC||Group|
|2000||Koan||Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, MD||Group|
|1999||Six Forms of Love and Despair||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|1998||Unknown||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|1997||Drawings and Paintings||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Solo|
|1997||Kent Williams||Marita Gilliam Gallery, Raleigh, NC||Solo|
|1997||Unknown||Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, MD||Group|
|1997||End of year group show||Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|1997||Forbidden Fruits and Unholy Lust||Todd Kaplan Gallery, Los Angeles, CA||Group|
|1996||Works Exhibition||Four Color Images Gallery, New York, NY||Solo|
|1996||Painting||Durham Art Guild, Durham, NC||Solo|
|1996||Unknown||Marita Gilliam Gallery, Raleigh, NC||Group|
|1995||Drawings and Paintings||Gallery Americas, Carrboro, NC||Solo|
|1995||New Art in the Triangle||Duke University Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC||Group|
|1993||The Art of Politics||San Jose State University, San Jose, CA||Group|
|1993||Declaration of Independents||Bess Cutler Gallery, New York, NY||Group|
|1991||1991 Inaugural Year Exhibitions||Northern Arizona University Art Museum and Galleries, Flagstaff, AZ||Group|
|1990||Fax-simile: An Invitational||University Art Gallery-Museum, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL||Group|
|1989||Unknown||Northern Arizona University Art Museum and Galleries, Flagstaff, AZ||Group|
|1987||Romantic||Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX||Group|