About – Philip Charles Williams


Artist Bio

Art saved my life more times than I can count.  Art is the counter point to life that distills and articulates truth in ways life itself is deaf, dumb and blind to. 

I make art because I am interested in the mystery of human experience and I explore that mystery through language, form and color.

I started painting 20 years ago and studied art & graphic design at OTIS College of Art & Design in LA, and while I have sold artwork through a major American museum, I was content to make art for myself because it was how I made sense of the world and my life, and that was enough.  Then I read a quote by Light artist James Turrell who said "Art is a completed pass.  You don't just throw it out into the world- someone has to catch it.", and that struck a chord in me.  I realized I must share my art and that the art in some sense is not completed until someone 'catches' it, experiences it, takes it in.  

My father was a High Energy Theoretical Physicist and I grew up under the sphinx like aura of impenetrable ideas that I could only guess at.  The value of theory and the beauty of ideas ingrained in me from an early age my approach to concepts. My approach to art is very concept-driven that seeks beauty underlying geometric forms.  My mother introduced me to art and took me to some big art shows when I was young living just outside of Washington D.C. in Potomac, Maryland.  

My artwork explores the mystery at the core of human experience.  This mystery gives human beings their dignity, their creativity, their connection to the larger world and is expressed in a thousand different ways, from dance to poetry to music to religion to the visual arts.  That is what I'm trying to get at... that mystery; to reference it, to frame it, to gain proximity to it.

My artwork explores the mystery of human experience in three ways; language, form and color.  Language itself is the medium in which the mystery of the human experience is understood so I came to feel there are certain words, Key-Words, that are like nexus points in the human experience that carry a lot of the spiritual load of how we understand certain concepts like time, transcendence, divinity and identity.

The second way I seek to express the mystery of human experience is through form.  Form is geometric structure, form is juxtaposition of shapes and space, form is focus and attention and the figure being focused on, form is the human body.  

The third way I seek to express the mystery of human experience in my art is through color.  On one level color is ubiquitous in art, design, fashion or industry and used as an afterthought or maybe used as an accent.  On another level, color is a portal to the most refined and nuanced experience of the spiritual we have.  Think Michelangelo, Rogier Van Der Weyden, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Marc Rothko, Yves Klein, Ellsworth Kelly.  It is not an insignificant detail that much of our understanding of the universe derives from color.  We understand so little about color from a human perspective, about how color changes us, how it impacts our thoughts and memories, how color might just be how we understand the deepest aspects of our mystery.

Hopefully this has given you a better sense of my art, what I'm trying to do and why I do it.

Philip Charles Williams

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