Palm Desert, California, USA. 25th April, 2022. Los Angeles Beverly Arts (LABA) Icon Award winners Todd Williamson and Joe Davidson, are currently exhibiting with artist Christina Craemer at Imago Galleries in Palm Desert, California. The exhibition is named "The Deeper the Blue," and explores the ideas of color, spirit, and freedom. The renowned painter Wassily Kandinsky, known for abstracts and expressionist use of color, stated that “color is a means of exercising direct influence upon the soul, where color is the keyboard, the eye the hammer, and the soul the piano of many strings.” Artists Craemer, Davidson, and Williamson question color in this exhibition and its place in our emotions and spirituality. The use of color calls out to the deeper nature of our hearts and minds.
According to Wassily Kandinsky in his prophetic 1912 book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, “the deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite”. Coming out of the COVID years and a worldwide lockdown, the world is looking inwards and questioning its existence. Unlike other colors, the color blue “Awakens (in him/her/they) a desire for the pure”. This desire is coming at us in all directions as we question how much we work and play and what we give our attention to. We are questioning where we live and how we interact with others. Kandinsky goes on to say, “The brighter it (blue) becomes, the more it loses its sound until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.” White has long been associated with positive energy, protection, and a connection with God.
In this exhibition, the works of three Los Angeles artists are connected through the power of color and specifically around the color blue. Christina Craemer’s mystical waterfalls and hazy imagery creates magical places where our minds search for calm, and a place that is definitively ours. In her travels she collects images that she processes from photographic images into the grand visions that are her art.
Joe Davidson’s art is specific to our eyes and calls to our minds to release the idea we have of what we expect to see. Dangling goldish sunflowers that are flat and pressed to the walls are sculptural and invite us to look closely to discover what they are saying, while soft white balloon sculptures hint at an uncovered joy, private thought or sexual fantasy.
Todd Williamson’s large-scale color fields hint at the spiritual, but recall life as it moves upward and around the colors. These monumental works have a quiet intensity and depth that demands a closer inspection. Williamson’s large monumental works hint at great things to come and movement through life.
The great Louise Bourgeois once stated that the color blue was the hallmark of freedom of speech. She felt that “the color blue means you have left the drabness of day to day reality to be transported into a world of freedom where you can say what you like and what you don't like. We are moving society forward where this aspect is at a pinnacle of our society, speaking out against injustice, cruelty, oppression, or the destruction of the planet.” This statement is visible in Williamson’s large hazy-blue work called “Two Sides of Tomorrow” where a fragility exists between the visible surface and just beneath this. Craemer's mystic waterfalls ebb and flow down the walls of the canvas inviting us to their mythical world, while Davidson’s highly charged sexual balloon sculptures appear like flaccid penises and wait to tell their story.
Each of the three artists quietly discusses how they see and live in the world. How the color of life is different for each and how color and abstraction are powerful monikers of who and what we are. Williamson uses the vertical line to symbolize the movement of life in many of his works such as “Aligning with Reason” and “Silent Stillness”. This “sword”, as he calls it, slices through the middle of the work at times and at other times lies solemnly on the side of the work still discussing the movement of our lives through time, hopes, fear, and desires.
Craemer uses soft hazy images to create another world where we hide from the garishness of daily life and softly breathe. Waterfalls, cathedrals, and trees make up much of this otherworldly scenery while she seamlessly connects the colors to the eye of the viewer to bring them into her world.
Davidson uses sculpture to question the world and to move the viewer to question why and how things exist as they do. Sometimes these statements are humorous and point out the obvious while at other times they confuse our concept of what the world is. His sunflowers seem to flow down the wall to us as we gaze at them and the soft edges of the balloon work, which are sensual and soft in their flaccid state and seem somewhat heretical in their quiet white ominous form.
"The Deeper the Blue" is currently on exhibition through Summer 2022 at Imago Galleries, 45-450 Highway 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260.
About Imago Galleries
Founded in 1991, Imago Galleries is considered one of the West Coast’s premier fine art galleries and event venues. At 18,000 square feet, the gallery is often mistaken for a boutique museum and boasts a 6,000 square foot sculpture garden as well as an a 3,500 square foot terrace. Imago has held exhibitions for well-known artists as Ed Ruscha, Tom Wesselmann, Dennis Hopper, Jennifer Bartlett, Mel Ramos, Arman, Peter Halley, Robert Graham, and William Wegman.
We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are important to keep us interested in the flow of life and alive! We need to take risks to grow and to challenge ourselves. 2020 allowed, or rather made me, take a couple of huge risks that could potentially change the course of my career.
I started working with a global luxury assest company that works exclusively with an Etherium based token called an Idon.
I had no clue how to work with cryptocurrencies!
I started researching how they work, how to work with them, etc. Lots of youtube videos, google, and calls to other artists and my lawyer!
They were amazing and very patient with me as I had a huge learning curve just to start the process!
The research peaked my interest in digital art as well as NFT”s, which at this point were still not on the radar of most people!
Since, I have created a series of digital videos and nfts based on my oil paintings but then animated and with sound, cause you just have to have sound to create a full idea!
Around this same time, I was approached to be one of the co-founders for an online gallery platform for artists called ArtEmerge. I loved the concept and how the platform vetted its artists, used important curators to create the exhibitions, received reviews on the shows, and directly connected the artists with collectors and art enthusiests. Typically galleries dont want their artist to have any connection to the collector. Connecting the artist to the collector adds a new layer of understanding about the art and why the artists does what they do so its super important!
ArtEmerge is one of the first artist-led online galleries that will have fully vetted artists and world-renowned curators creating the exhibitions. The current curator is Jennifer Chi, phd. Jennifer has a world class exhibition record and has had exhibitions reviewed in most of the top art market magazines and newspapers over the 2 decades. Cynthia Penna will also be the ongoing curatorial consultant with ArtEmerge. Coming from Italy, she and her husband created a cultural association, Art 1307, that guides artists between the US and Italy and have personally created 100’s of exhibitions that used these cross culture connections since starting their cultural association.
I know both of the curators very well and consider both to be dear friends which makes running the business even more enjoyable since I know I too am in very good, capable hands!
The team also includes a hot, young online marketing gurus and a press agent in NY that is amazing!
“UNBROKEN” Cross Currents and Contemporary Time” is the first exhibition for the gallery and goes live April 20th.
Visitors to the virtual exhibition will encounter recent artworks by two artists. Houston based artist Justin Garcia, 2019 Winner Medici Award, who has created a powerful series, and is particularly concerned with crystalizing society’s perception of time. His current series focuses on the impact of change over time.
These will be juxtaposed with the sensorial, yet elusive color field paintings by Pollock-Krasner Foundation Prize for Creativity winner, Todd Williamson. Williamson’s works immediately engage the viewer with a rich and unusually surprising use of colors. They often pull you into another world that suspends our notion of time through an explosive control of the canvas. The artworks are intended to serve as metaphors to examine, define and make sense of our place during this salient moment in world history.
All of us have to take risks! Sometimes they help to change the world to a better place for all of us!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work, on a very basic level, is about color and how we react to it. It is my reaction to the world and the things we deal with on a daily basis. It is an attempt to create “order” where it does not always exist. It deals with the chaos of life through color and control of the surface of the work. It is heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionist and continiues to evolve over time. I use mulitlple layers of paint applied over a base which is very important to the light that is seen within the work. This light registers sub-consciously but does is not usually noticed otherwise.
These layers create depth that elicit emotions and memory from the viewer in a effort to show my own emotional responses to the stimuli around me from the bombardment of the daily “breaking news” that we can no longer get away from.
The thin layers of paint allow the point of light to be the canvas itself creating a chiaroscuro effect in the paintings where the contrasted light and shadows fall unevenly on the surface showing depth and movement.
Hightlights in my career include my project “Processional” being chosen as an official exhibitions for the 58th Venice Biennale.
I was awarded the Pollock Prize for Creativity becoming only the 3rd artist to recieve this award after Amy Sherald.
My first solo museum show, California Dreamin’ happened in 2019 at the MAC Museum Art & Cars, Singen Germany.
In the past 2 years, I have begun researching the effects color and sound have on the human condition and incorporating this into many parts of the way I work. I love the idea that color and sound have the ability to heal. I think we have always known that but science is just now proving it.
I am also very excitcited about new emerging technologies and the possabilities they create for creatives.
In 2020, I was part of a short documentary film called “Dreams in Color” that was directed by Andrew Schwartz. It was such a fun project and has taken on a life of its own! Andrew premiered it at a number of film festivals where it was the official selection at many and recently, it won two awards from the Art Non-Stop International Film Festival in Buenos Aires! I was amazed, especially since they also gave me a special artist recognition award!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Because I travel for work a lot, I meet people from all over the world. When they come to LA, they always stay at our home in West Hollywood, where I have lived on and off for 30 years! We rarely drive since we are close enough to walk everywhere! We usually start at lunch at Tu Madre on Hayward and then make our way to the Abbey. I’ve know David Cooley since the Abbey was a coffee shop and he was a banker! I think this is the perfect place to show out of towners the LA vibe!
My new lun;ch place when Im at the studio is Tu Madre on Hayworth. Its got this great atmosphere withnan wrap around patio thats justn amazing!
For a nice dinner, my favorite place is Il Piccolino on Robertson. Silvio has greeted guests for decades always in his 3 piece suit and immaculate manners! The ambiance, the food, the wine are what a romantic dinner creates the perfect romantic dinner always!
photography-Todd Williamson Dreams in Color- Andrew Schwartz, Lion Heart Films
Georges' Berges, Author
Georges' Berges Gallery NY, Berlin The Future of Art
By every standard, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in our recent history. As we start to process and search for a personal and cultural meaning of this experience, I am reminded of Joseph Campbell’s words, “The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.”
As this ill-period passes by, we turn to the artist and the art that has nourished, comforted, and challenged us this year. Art has always been a source of transformation. From iconic artists like Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel to living artists like Todd Williamson and Khara Oxier-Mori, artists and their artworks allow us to transcend those phases of upheaval in our personal and collective lives that seem the most challenging. Art is a source of joy, but more importantly, it can serve to challenge the preconceived notions we have about our own individual selves and each other. Art can be a vehicle of both individual and social “death” and “rebirth.”
I see art as aspirational. Surround yourself with the art that reflects who you are but also who you aspire to be. It is interesting to really capture the art created in 2020 – to not just see it but to fully experience it. I believe that through art one could find hope amidst so much tragedy. Hope for humanity. Hope for a better future for each and every one of us who have experienced loss. As we begin to look ahead to 2021, may I suggest we look towards the art that we each surround ourselves with and re-evaluate whether it still reflects who we are as individuals and as a people after this truly transformative time and experience?
The art that we live with has a powerful effect on our daily life. When utilized wisely, art can serve to take us to new heights – It can help us grow and evoke the inner-person within each of us that too often remains at an unconscious level but that also for many of us, could be the best rendition of ourselves – glimpses of which we experience when tragedy hits or periods of great joy happen but then retreats when and as we go on with our daily lives. The art we live with can help to fully manifest what’s best in each of us.
After a tumultuous 2020 and as we enter 2021, think about the importance of the art that surrounds you with the knowledge of its transformative power. Art reflects not just who you are but who you aspire and will aspire to be in 2021 and beyond.
Todd Williamson is an American contemporary painter based in Los Angeles. His work is strongly influenced by the abstract expressionist movement 1950s in New York. Williamson’s paintings are characterized by their grid-like parallel lines that reflect a formal consideration of light, color, and shape. Using a refined process of building and removing multiple layers of oil on canvas, his works engage both complementary hues and opposing values, focusing on the subtle layers of color and movement.
Williamson is the current winner of the Pollock Prize for Creativity, only the third artist in history to win this coveted prize. His project Processional was one of twenty official exhibitions at the past 58th Venice Biennale and saw over 100,000 visitors, and was listed by Forbes, Domus, Widewalls, and the Venice Insider as one of the Top 10 exhibitions at the international event.
I get a lot of email #art #scams and with the worldwide crisis, I get more than ever!
They are tricky to see as a scam but most of them have similarities that make them easy to spot.
Here are a few things to look for:
Usually they are very polite but with bad grammar.
They are buying for a spouse for a birthday or anniversary.
They are always in a hurry and they want to pay by check! DONT DO IT!
They best thing is to trust your instincts. They are usually right.
If I ever think they could be real, I forward them on to my reps and let them take it from there.
Recently one of my galleries thought it was a real thing and went along. The check bounced!
Then the "buyer" had the balls to send a 2nd check!! Crazy!
The police are little help with check fraud in case your wondering. So in this case you only lose the bounced check fees.
Dont think they can pay by Cashiers Check either. It is usually a fake one!
In some cases, they pay by credit card but they always overpay then want you to send them money! Again, DONT! If you cash they check, you are complicit in the eyes of the law.
They will tell you they have their own shipper and want you to pay the shipper, DONT!
Do business the way you always do and trust those nagging feelings you know you get.
Here is an example of the latest one. This one even came with the guys photo.
Greetings... I am Tom Glen from Sydney Texas. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife's anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on to some of your works which I found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit you're doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.
With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1500 to $5000.
I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept a check as a means of payment.
Lately, I have had lots of talks with other artists about the changes that are inevitable now that covid has overtaken the world. Our lifetime is now part of history and we have to adapt and find ways to be creative and relative in this brave new world.
One thing I hear over and over is the percentage of current galleries that will not be around this time next year. Some huge galleries have already closed. Everyone is scrambling to find a way to showcase their art and make a living at the same time.
I keep asking myself how much of the old way of doing business is still relevant? There have always been many things that were taboo for artist. Do those old taboo's apply? I don't think so. I think it is a new world and its time for us to create a good business model where we work together. Exhibitions were already moving towards arts collectives and art groups rather than galleries but now this seems even more important
Being in control of your art and how its shown and sold are more important than ever.
What do you think is important?
How do we implement these into our presentations?
How do we show the work and continue to grow our businesses without alienating potential in the future?
Art reps and consultants seem like the way of the future in my eyes. What do you think?
In this series, Victoria Chapman, director VC Projects, discusses artists' practice, life during isolation, past and upcoming exhibitions, and issues that most artists face.
Today, I had a great discussion with Victoria via an Instagram Live. Victoria and I have known and worked together for many years. We talked about isolation and how it comes out in artists' work, as well as how artists deal with the challenges it presents.
We'd love to hear from you! What are your challenges? Has isolation hindered or helped your creativity? Going forward how will your practice evolve? Leave a comment to help support the artist community in navigating these challenging times.
Join us In the Studio Tuesday, June 9th, 10am pacific for a "studio visit" and chat with VC Projects director Victoria Chapman!
Victoria has been exploring the idea of isolation with artists and curators over the past few months and how the isolation has reared its ugly head in their art, lives, and creative practice.
#contemporarypainting #artstudio #artstudio #studiovisit #museum #contemporaryartist #contemporaryart #fineart #artcollectors #artcollecting #venicebiennale2019
"Contemporary art is a new voice in an ongoing dialogue of artistic ideas. Every artist working today contends with, looks at, draws inspiration from, and rejects all the art that has come before. It is the topmost layer of a sedimentation of proposals, styles, ideas, images, forms, and vocabularies that have accrued over time. Contemporary art is a way of looking at the world and making sense of the questions, problems, joy, and chaos that exist all around us and trying to find an expression that gives form to, or makes sense of it all. It can sometimes take on urgent, global problems, but it can also be extremely intimate or deal with the language of art itself: abstraction, color, or shapes. It can be about the process and the inventiveness of coming up with new technologies and new materials. Contemporary art can often feel like an obscure, elusive, or almost hostile thing that people either shy away from or that lends itself to ridicule and derision." by Christian Rattemeyuer, director Sculpture Center MOMAI thought this was very appropriate and truly describes contemporary art. Even artists dont always understand contemporary art. I have to work to understand a lot of video art and installations. I am too impatient to sit for 10 minutes to watch a jumbled mass of images that do not make sense to me without a description from the artist but I am willing to be educated and I do try to understand that all art recreates the world of the artist as they see it.
There is a curse that is associated with "living in interesting times". In history these times were marked by plagues, wars, dictators but also by the birth of civilization and the renaissance.
Todd Williamson artist.