The William Ris Gallery is pleased to present Syncopation, a two-person exhibition featuring artists, Michael Ingui and Robin D Williams, on view August 18 through September 9, 2018.
As the title Syncopation indicates, there is a deep connection to and inspiration of music with the artwork which gallery owner, Mary Cantone, curated to best highlight and compliment each artists’ works. “I wanted to draw attention to how music and the visual arts have always been intertwined and inspired by each other,” Cantone explains, adding, “Most artists have a backdrop of music while they work, whether it be classical, rock, electronica, or whatever moves them.” In the case of Ingui and Williams, both share a passion for jazz amongst other genres.
The combination of the synchronicity of the artists’ music fueled artwork as well as their syncopated approach technically is behind the concept of Syncopation. Ingui, who is also an architect and partner at the New York based sustainable architectural design firm Baxt Ingui Architects PC, paints primarily with enamel, oils and an acrylic mix with a pouring medium, while Williams uses the blind contour method, drawing the contours of her subject without ever looking down at the paper or lifting the pen. The fluidity of motion and vibrant energy, much like the melody, rhythm and energy of music, is apparent in both artists’ works.
“Being an architect and artist inform each other,” Ingui philosophizes, explaining his passion for both. The son of a musician who himself studied music in his youth, Ingui’s intuitive nature of his paintings can be attributed directly to his love of music, particularly jazz. “The musicians start with a theme but then improvise going in and out of complicated rhythms, eventually coming back to the theme — my paintings are like that, capturing the movement in the song,” he explains. Each line and movement affects the next like a live jazz performance, a continuous reaction as the paint Ingui prefers to work with dries quickly, “and similar to that, you can’t fix what you put down,” he notes. Ingui’s 2008 MTA commissioned installation, “Crescendo,” won the Building Brooklyn Award that same year, and was listed #2 (second only to Chuck Close’s “Subway Portraits”) in the 2017 Time Out Magazine’s “Top 20 NY Subway Art Installations.”
New Jersey born Williams who currently lives in Florida rose to prominence in Manhattan for her colorful abstract paintings as part of the underground collective of young artists in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The self taught artist eventually landed on blind contour as her primary choice of expression which she has been practicing now for over 20 years. “The blind contour line is alive, immediate, evocative. It dances on the page and to me it is the most expressive,” says Williams, adding, “The drawing is like life — there is no going back, no do over.” In 2007, Williams was awarded a coveted membership to the Drawing Center in Manhattan, the only not for profit museum in the U.S. to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings. When asked about how music inspires her art, Williams explains, “I let my mind go with the story of the music, looping one song over and over while I work on a piece.” Williams often can be found at concerts and jazz clubs drawing musicians as they perform, the results reflecting the intuitive nature of live performance and often a feeling of intimacy in her subjects with their musical craft.
The exhibition opens August 18, Saturday, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., and will feature a special live performance by New Suffolk resident and multiple Grammy award winning producer and musician, Gil Goldstein, as Williams creates a blind contour drawing of the performance. This is the first exhibition by both Ingui and Williams in Long Island, and will be the perfect finish to the summer as William Ris Gallery prepares their Fall exhibition calendar starting in September.