CATALOGUE ESSAY, 2018 — “Megan Williamson: Defying Gravity” by David Ebony, Contributing Editor ART IN AMERICA
Deliberate, effective, and finely calibrated, the distortions serve a scene that is incongruous but somehow wholly convincing. With her fluid brushwork, extraordinary color sensibility, and imaginative presentation of the figure, Williamson suggests that painting itself just could be the most exhilarating dare-devil act of all. Click Here For Full Text
Essay by Gabriel Laderman, 2005
Megan Williamson is a painter formed by the sophisticated use of the French modernist tradition. Although her paintings may look at first glance especially indebted to the fauve painters, Matisse, Marquet, and Roualt, for example, they contain as well solid abstract structure derived as well from an understanding of cubist principles of construction. This of course, was also true of the finest of the Fauves, as well. But her double debt to them and to the cubists is a hallmark of her great compositional acuity.
She has developed in a pretty straight line over the past 30 years, although I know she sees it as a series of tangents to a central series of issues. Her work has become more and more invested in a color sensibility which I can only see elsewhere in the most glorious years of fauve painting. No earlier American painter deserves to be called a Fauve as much as she does, except, Louis Matthiasdottir, and on occasion, Nell Blaine.
Since the coming and going of Abstract expressionism, with those exceptions, there has been very little work of an expressionist figurative nature, in this country which can claim, either her pedigree, or her intensity as an artist. An expressionist artist shows herself in the way the brush dances over the canvas, annotating the forms and colors of the motif. But only the very rare expressionist also shows a sensibility refined enough while in the throes of painterly passion to find absolute pictorial locations for these paroxysms of gesture which fulfill their pictorial needs. The exact placement, or exact replacement of every mark and each color must occur for the painting to succeed. And all of this needs to be done at white hot speed. This she seems able to do without fail.
It is important to note that the drawing with color which has become her favorite mode of painting requires a lot more than absolute color clarity. The drawing must be perfectly placed and in its lines and movements must complement not only the other lines, but the fields of color, small and large into which they have been dropped, and must complete the pictorial action of he plane, her canvas.
It is a pleasure to look at her work, because it delights the eye and the mind like a stroll through a garden full of flowers. She has added beauty to our world and we should be grateful for its presence in such clarity and abundance. I hope to see many more of her works.
Gabriel Laderman 2005
NEW YORK TIMES, May 2001 – “Stepping Off A Plane To Meet New Art” by Celestine Bohlen, NYT Columnist
Big Bold Installations will grace a rebuilt Kennedy Arrivals Terminal.
[ PHOTO ] Deborah Masters, with consultant Megan Williamson, discusses “New York Streets” during installation.
…Using imposing and intriguing works by local artists, Terminal 4, the $1.4 billion public-private venture that opens today at Kennedy International Airport, has gone for a more welcoming approach … Click Here for Full Text
DESIGN SPONGE, FEBRUARY 2015 – Feature: "Megan Williamson + Best of the Web" by Grace Bonney, Creator and Author of DIY blog Design*Sponge
…Megan Williamson is a Chicago-based painter whose work reminds me of my favorite Fauvist painters combined with a nod to contemporary pattern and textile design. I love the way she uses bold brushstrokes, big swaths of saturated color and works in bits of pattern here and there. (Her work has even been turned into wallpaper!) … Click Here for Full Text
LANCASTER ONLINE, MARCH 2015 – "Landscape show 'Seven on Site' opens at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design" by Jane Holahan
…Williamson paints urban, even industrialized scenes. “A beautiful place can be two steps from wherever you are. I keep seeing places and thinking that there is a painting there. Light hitting a Coke bottle can be beautiful.” One of her works features a mountain of salt used to clear roads of ice and snow. “Someone who saw that painting said ,‘I always thought that salt pile was beautiful.’ Another painting, of the Cal Sag canal, is a really industrialized site. The water is polluted, but it is beautiful too.” … Click Here for Full Text
CHICAGO CULTURE & EVENTS EXAMINER, DECEMBER 2013 – Review by Bonnie Jean Adams
…I commit to canvas what is before me because there is something that I want to see. I often say that I see a painting in a still life or landscape, I just don't know what it will look like until I paint it. As I respond to what I look at, I translate it on to a 2 dimensional plane. I get lost in the looking at my subject and my canvas - back and forth like a tennis match. I make marks all over as I work, rarely finishing any one part before another… Click Here for Full Text
DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE, JUNE 2013 – “Exhibit At Northampton's Oxbow Gallery Features Works By Seven Landscape Artists” by Phoebe Mitchell
…In her work, Williamson explores a landscape where nature and man intersect. In "Strange Brew," she juxtaposes buildings and railroad cars, the geometric shapes of the urban landscape, against the less-defined forms of the tree foliage in the foreground. Williamson paints the industrial structures in solid colors, with red, blue, beige and lime-green rectangles pieced together like a patchwork quilt. The effect is to flatten the space, pushing the man-made shapes uncomfortably close to the freer natural forms, forcing them into an uneasy partnership. She enhances that feeling by sandwiching the objects between a wedge of blue sky at the top of the canvas and the strip of water at the bottom... Click Here for Full Text
ART NEW ENGLAND ONLINE, JUNE 2013 – “Seven On Site Exhibit” by Martha Poppin
…Williamson, on the other hand, pulls her forms to the picture surface, like the other artists in the exhibition. Her buildings and trees make a foreground screen, as in Landscape with Fences. Bright colors create a sense of movement, as does varied and lively brushwork… Click Here for Full Text
MW CAPACITY, APRIL 2009 – Interview by Christopher Lowrance
…Light, yes. It’s a kind of magic isn’t it? The first time I was in Paris it was just to change planes. It had just stopped raining and the sky had that torn cloud thing going on. I was walking on the tarmac from the plane to the gate and just stopped. I like to think of myself standing there with my mouth open, but I don’t remember. It felt that shocking though, to see the light that I recognized from so many favorite paintings. It was a revelation in terms of the relationship of place (and the light of a place) to invention and interpretation… Click Here for Full Text
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, SEPTEMBER 2004 – “An Artist In The Garden” by Barbara Mahany
…No matter the garden, she says, there is always an intimacy. And a way of looking at a garden that might escape even the most fervent gardener. "With my brush in my hand, I sat down and really looked. I'm two steps back, I take in the whole city. I'd be standing there with my French easel and the gate would open. I'd get that big picture, seeing it for the first time, taking in the neighbors, taking in the city, and how everything talks to each other. I'm taking it all in, whereas a gardener builds it over time.”… Click Here for Full Text
ESSAY, 2002 – by Cathy Lebowitz, Artist and Editor, Art In America
…Megan Williamson's art practice has been one of careful choices. Her paintings and drawings belong to an enduring tradition of painterly inquiry. Limning the terrain between abstraction and observation, she works from the landscape or parts of extensive still lifes, choosing emergent forms for their dynamic connection to the flat space of the canvas. Many of her complex paintings resemble the interconnected and loaded surfaces of de Kooning's Excavation and Attic. Paced with unfamiliar amalgams of language, they can be seen as the equivalent of free association. Through rigor of drawing and clarity of color, Williamson creates a precise depth of field… Click Here for Full Text
CATALOGUE ESSAY, 2000 – "The Search For Innocence" by Don Davis, 2000
…Megan Williamson is on (a) quest. Her paintings and drawings are a kind of diary of these crossings and recrossings of her universe. The etched shadow of the Umbrian sun across the fulsome flora of olives, grapes and red soil; the spiny undulation of the line as it picks its way around the acid contours of a hammer's head; these are worlds created in the mind's eye, and duly recorded here… Click Here for Full Text
NEW ART EXAMINER, 2000 – Review by John Brunetti, Chicago Art Critic
…It is, however, Williamson's ability to unexpectedly anthropomorphize singular industrial forms with a minimum number of decisive brush strokes that is the most poetic aspect of her work. A single trowel standing vertically becomes a lone sentinel through the spare and immediate delineation of its contour; the vacant lenses of doubled-over welding goggles become haunting eyes that resemble beacons engaged in an endless search. These quite simple drawings encapsulate the chaos and order with which Williamson wrestles. If her paintings can incorporate this power, she will only lengthen our engagement… Click Here for Full Text
CATALOGUE ESSAY, 1999 – "In Resonance" by Vesela Stretenovic, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
…Whether in the form of painting or drawing, the art of Megan Williamson balances two worlds: the world of visible appearances and the world of invisible reflections. Grounded in a perception of natural forms, figures and objects, her work exceeds the region of sight, aiming toward depiction of the unseen and imaginary… Click Here for Full Text