Williams Carmona’s show, entitled “Against All Odds,” presents a diverse selection of paintings and sculptures that address the consequences of human behavior in love, politics and environmental issues. This autobiographical collection is displayed through the artist’s style of “magic-realism,” a realist appeal to history merged with surrealist elements, particularly the history and fiction of Caribbean and Latin American life since 1492.
“Against All Odds” reaffirms the relationship between art and politics by representing the young generation of Cuban artists who emigrate in search of personal and artistic freedom. In his pictorial work and sculptures, Williams combines characters from other times with current situations to address issues of displacement, exile, geography and abuse. His work has been described as Caribbean Surrealism and Neo-Baroque due to his oeuvre containing a metaphysical undertone that transports the viewer through time. Inspired by art historical epigones and neighborhood characters, Williams arranges his characters in the staged play that is his work.
Williams states, “‘Against All Odds’ is an exhibit that reveals my adversity to the perceived reality of our daily lives. I … realize that life is a mixture of surrealistic and apocalyptic realities, and the only thing that separates one person from another are their ideas. I rapidly understood how beautiful it was to be different; yet how unhappy it made me to know that life is what it is, and not how it should be. The world contains so many people who suffer and feel the way I do... but with destinies marked by many differences. ‘Against All Odds’ will be an opening of new surrealistic codes and images to delight the spectator, who is educated to think he sees everything.”
Williams was born in Havana, Cuba in 1967 and studied at the Universidad de Bellas Artes. He has lived and worked in Puerto Rico since 1991, exhibiting at various galleries and museums. Originally from a broken family and modest means, Williams scaled the peaks of the global artistic scene and is now recognized by critics, peers and sophisticated collectors as one of the luminaries of surrealism. In 1996, the artist was honored with a solo exhibition in his adopted homeland at the Museo de las Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That same year, Williams was invited to participate in the Latin American masters group exhibition, Latin ViewPoints, at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Long Island, New York. His works have made their place in the homes of art collectors in America, Europe and South America, as well as auction houses including Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips.
Williams’ work can be found in numerous major public collections and prestigious museums, including the Nassau County Museum of Art, New York; Museum Del Barrio Private Collection, New York; Museum of the MOLAA, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Miami; MoMA, San Salvador; Museum of Fine Arts, Havana; Pompidou Museum, Paris; Ludwig Foundation Collection, Cologne, Germany: Private Collection of Sir Paul McCartney; Private Collection of Sir Elton John: Barack Obama Presidential Collection (Smithsonian); Jarnie Walsh Foundation, Madrid; MAP of Puerto Rican Art Collection, San Juan, Puerto Rico; United Nations Latin American Art Collection, New York; Jack Lemon Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Fanjul Foundation, Miami, FL; Praxis Art International, New York: Spativm Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela; Cernuda Art Gallery, Miami, FL: Michele Esterne Collection, Washington DC; Murer Gallery, Atlanta, USA; Ewar Gomez Collection, Art critic of The New York Times.
Select awards and honors include: Juror's Award of Excellence in painting, drawing and engraving, University of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba in 1990 and a Grand Prize, Painting, Salon Provincial, Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1989. Numerous recognized art critics and artists have written about Williams Carmona, including the esteemed English surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. The art critic Manuel Lemaza acknowledged Williams to be one of the most provoking voices in constructing a surrealist discourse, and the New York Times art critic Edward M. Gomez defined him as a "remarkable painter whose magic lies in the manner in which he transforms his materials and uses them to give physical, visible form to ideas and emotions". Williams lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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