|back to Reviews & essays|
The Moscow Tribune, 1993
В«US Artist at Home in MoscowВ»
Unusual and astonishing like his sculptures is American artist Frank WilliamsвЂ™ latest decision вЂ“ to live and create in Moscow. Having unpacked his enormous sculptures, installations, tunnels of equipment and tools shipped from Houston into a wonderfully spacious masterskaya, or studio, Williams is definitely here to stay.
Williams is now working feverishly on a series of sculptures with a metaphorical theme вЂ“ a bull pulling a wheel. The bull is in turns powerful, energetic, angry, defiant and defeated. вЂњItвЂ™s the eternal human condition everywhere but somehow more apt here.вЂќ he says.
вЂњUntil the idea is exhausted and I cease seeing the image, IвЂ™ll continue to explore this theme in a series,вЂќ says Williams. Numerous sketches of the bull in different sizes and attitudes are pinned to drawing board.
вЂњEver since the 60s, I have been involved in political art,вЂќ the artist continues. вЂњOccasionally I venture out of the field , only to return again and again to political themes. Politics seems to be affecting my lifeвЂ¦ and everyone elseвЂ™s.вЂќ
Scattered around the studio are sculptures from his вЂњGuiltвЂќ series, which he describes as вЂњless political and more personal, dealing with family hang-ups, Christian upbringing, etc.вЂќ The agony of guilt is portrayed in harrowing expressions, in ways reminiscent of works by the Russian artist Leonid Berlin which explored repression in the gulag.
Apart from the вЂњdream of trampling through impenetrable snowвЂќ, Williams was inspired to move to Moscow by the changing political climate. вЂњIt was both challenging and scary, but finally it is the human aspect which has brought me here. We are different people with different possibilities. I teach sculpture but I am also being educated,вЂќ he says warmly.
In preparation for the move Williams spent time here last year cataloging the works of Russian artists, and took beck hundreds of slides and films. вЂњThe work of graphic artist Basyrov, Alexei Grigorii, Leonid Berlin, Alexander Bergonov, Natalia Nesterova, Boris Orlov and Victor Brell spoke to me.вЂќ he says.
Williams is all praise for the meticulous training young artist receive at the Moscow Art Professional School, where he will teach courses and set up educational facilities. вЂњMy ultimate goal is to establish long-term exchanges with Russian and American artist , and thus create a bridge of art. I can already see the idea blossoming,вЂќ he says.
Williams confesses to being fascinated by the energy and liveliness of the art scene in Moscow. вЂњArt is akin to popular culture here,вЂќ he says with wonder in his voice. With several one-man shows to his credit in New York, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Williams is looking forward to exhibiting at the Central House of Artists later un the year.
By Smita Tewari Jassal