Susan Williams is known for her imagined landscapes—dreamy, interior descendants of romantic landscapes in a style recognizably her own. Her paintings represent thoughts and memories that brush up against distractions: an island, a tree, a rock, painted on a canvas of her own private stories, narratives, and daydreams. “The overall impression,” wrote one admirer, “is that of a tone poem—as if Whistler ran into Cormac McCarthy.”
In a recent interview, Williams describes her process:
“Honestly, I’m best off when I follow instinct and emotion,” she says, “when I leave behind the clutter, chatter, and academics. And I treat the surface as if it were a person, a child, an alter-ego: Yes, it needs to be caressed and loved by sable brushes, but it also needs to be shredded, torn apart with razor blades. From this, a personality or narrative takes shape.”
For Williams, that raw vulnerability allows her to flourish.
As her work evolves—quietly, evanescently—Williams stays true to herself and her vision, something that is not always easy to accomplish. It is far easier to say, “I must change,” or “I must try something completely new.” It is harder, in many ways, to stay the course. Williams has had significant exhibitions in New York and Maine; juried and group shows; success with numerous collections, including an acquisition of a group of paintings by McKinsey & Co and Goldman Sachs & Co; and solo exhibitions at the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City. She is represented by the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, Maine and Downing-Yudain in Stamford, Connecticutt and has worked with various art consultants, including Bea Medinger, Lily Downing, and Heather Hearst. Her work has also appeared in numerous blogs and publications. A New York City native, Williams has a B.A. in Art History and Visual Art from Bowdoin College (cum laude). She is the mother of two grown children, Margaret and George, and divides her time between Camden, Maine and Mill Valley, California with her husband, Rufus.