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the gibbes museum of art
Photograph: Portrait of the artist while painting in the studio by Mitchell Kearney Photography

Portraying Justice: Exploring Portraiture Techniques with Charles Edward Williams

April 9, 2022 @ 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Studio Two


Inspired by the important figures in the exhibition Fighters for Freedom by William H. Johnson Picturing Justice, this adult workshop looks deeply through the pursuit and pure essence of portraiture. Widely acclaimed artist, Charles Edward Williams, will lead workshop participants in key concepts including working from historical photographs and techniques such as the planes of the head, light & shadow, shapes, values & edges, color mixing and temperatures from utilizing oil painting on mylar. These elements combined with studio practices and proper use of materials for example brush control, can access these portals of wonder, a journey to explore, and questions to investigate. It is in these moments of imagery we can provide our present world the deepest of context and partake in the visual memories for dreams, legacy and influence to come to past.

Workshop participants will be provided opaque Mylar to work on as the painting support. A suggested materials list will be provided to workshop participants via email.

The visual proof, like photographs, are documentations that this was a moment in time where they lived, survived, and overcame. The shared visuals encapsulate moments standing still, and longing to breathe of those things hoped for, and now a glimpse of evidence seen, we hold as a memory for us to recall. As we hold the passage to resurgence, yet still precious, we can see the truth. More than just a memory, these truths aid us to step within the framework for who they are and possess their spirit as a human. – Charles Edward Williams

About the Instructor

Charles Edward Williams is a contemporary visual artist from Georgetown, SC, and holds a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA, and an MFA at the University of North Carolina (UNCG) in Greensboro, NC. Creating compelling imagery in oils, video/film, and sound installations, Williams’ work investigates current, and historical-cultural events related to racism and suggestive stereotypes formed within individuals. His works define self–representation of human emotive responses that lie within cultural identity and reveal tension to expose the complexities within our sociopolitical environments. Through his visions, we are encouraged to engage in self-examination, to question false boundaries that separate us, and view the inner connectedness of our common existence.

Williams has attended summer artist residencies at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA), SOMA (Mexico City, Mexico), the Gibbes Museum (Charleston, SC), and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation (Charlotte, NC). Solo exhibitions include “Warm Water” at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (UICA) (Grand Rapids, MI) and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) (Winston-Salem, NC). “SUN + LIGHT” at Residency Art gallery (Inglewood, LA), Polk Museum of Art (Lakeland, FL) and Susquehanna Art Museum (Harrisburg, PA) “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” (Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC), “For Which it Stands” at Monica King Contemporary (Tribeca, NY), “Swim” at Morton Fine Art (Washington, DC). His work was also recently exhibited at Aqua and Scope Art Fair / Art Basel (Miami, FL). Group exhibitions include the Weatherspoon Museum (Greensboro, NC), the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN), Tiger Strike Asteroid project space (Philadelphia, PA), and other national institutions.

Works have been reviewed in local and national publications and media, including the Washington Post, NPR, and South Carolina’s ETV network (PBS affiliate). Permanent collections include the North Carolina Museum of Art (NC), the Gibbes Museum (SC), Knoxville Museum of Art (TN), Polk Museum of Art (FL), and the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art (NJ). Williams also received the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Award from the State of South Carolina to develop enriching art programs within local communities.