Contemporary painter Robin F. Williams is known for her bold paintings, which present women in poses that remind us of fashion-magazine advertisements. Based in Brooklyn, New York, and with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Williams has exhibited her work at galleries including Bard College at Simon’s Rock, P.P.O.W. Gallery, and Sargent’s Daughters. And with more than 73k followers on Instagram, it’s clear that people are taken by her portraits.
“I’m most concerned with creating power dynamics between the painting and the viewer,” she stated in an interview with Art of Choice. “I work to give every figure a kind of sentience or self-awareness. To be more specific, the paintings explore gender in an American context as it relates to power. I work to balance narrative with formal concerns in order to simulate these dynamics. I’m always trying to keep myself curious and engaged with paint as well. This results in a lot of play and some humor in my practice.”
Indeed, her works might be taken humorously, with her subjects looking part realistic-part mythical – fantastical beings that are taken out of time and place. Having studied illustration, Williams admits that her roots are in representation and figuration.
“For most of my practice, I’ve worked exclusively in oil and employed varying degrees of realism,” she says. “In the last several years I’ve been using multiple techniques and mediums, and the look of my work has evolved through my working methods.” Her different techniques are meant to evoke effects that seem photographic or digital without looking like Photorealism. “I mix those treatments with more painterly passages and the result is a kind of mash up of different eras and visual signifiers,” she says.
Take a look at some of her work in the gallery below.