Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ascent from Deep River: Paintings and Drawings by the Late Tim Williams

I’m sharing this with my Op Op friends because I’m pretty sure we like the same kinds of things: Home; art; nature; heritage; creativity; things that make you think. Finding the glory in imperfect things. Glorying in things that are well done. Doing things with heart and with love. Treasures of people and places.

You would have liked Tim Williams, and you will love his art.

A native Columbian, Tim Williams painted in Central Missouri for decades, but he always seems to have shied away from putting his work in shows and galleries. He was a creator, pure and simple. As a result, though he was prolific, not many people have seen his works.

But Tim was a friend of mine (“is”—? Well, I have never stopped liking and loving him, so how does someone word such a thing, anyway?)—and because of this, I’ve been lucky for the past fifteen years or so to get to see his art; sometimes as it was in progress, but mostly as samples of it hanging in his and Jane’s home, and in Jane’s office, which was a revolving mini-gallery of his work. (You see, Jane was my managing editor, and Tim’s colorful and evocative paintings in her office provided a surefire mind-thrill during every Monday morning staff meeting. I sipped coffee those mornings, but with his art on her walls, I didn’t need to!)

I could try to describe Tim’s beautiful, brilliant personality, and his intriguing, beguiling art, but it wouldn’t work. It would come out wrong; as Laurie Anderson said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Instead, I recommend you go see his art, which is currently on exhibit (free!) at Orr Street Studios in downtown Columbia (106 Orr St., north of Walnut, east of 10th St.).

For a taste treat, check out his enduring Web presence at his Flickr photostream and his StumbleUpon page. The Flickr photostream is a trove of his art, with each work often paired with a poem, each pairing guaranteed to make you feel more human and alive. There are landscapes, portraits, self-portraits, paintings on Zen subjects, architectural paintings, and more. (The Flickr site is where I have copied the images in this post from. See below for a statement on my copying of his art.) The StumbleUpon site shows the breadth and depth of his curiosity and the wide range of things that tickled him.

Tim’s Web presence gained him a large and loving international online following, and their appreciation was based only on digitized art glowing on a computer screen. Now you get to see the works up close, in real life. This is a huge opportunity!


Orr Street Studios (106 Orr St., downtown Columbia, Mo.):
Ascent from Deep River: A Collection of Work by the Late Tim Williams, Boonville, Mo.
Exhibition runs through February 10.
Gallery hours 12–3, Thursday–Sunday (or by chance).
Reception is Friday, Jan. 18, 6–9 pm.
“Remembering Tim” discussion is Tuesday, Feb. 5, 6–8 pm.

Here is what Orr Street Studios is saying about Tim and his work:

In 1990, Tim married longtime friend Jane Lago. As a practicing Buddhist, Tim annually went to Japan to meditate with other Buddhists. One day a Zen master asked him to illustrate a book of poems he had written. Tim’s response was, “but I’m not an Artist!” and the Master said, “oh but you are!”

So in the early 90’s Tim decided to go back to school to pursue an art degree, which he completed in 1996 from MU. His mentor, as he was for so many others, was Frank Stack [professor of art at MU]. Tim would travel to surrounding river towns with Frank, and sometimes with other plein air painters—Jane Mudd, Byron Smith, and Chris Teeter—to name a few.

He communed with fellow artists and nature, and he quickly gained an understanding of painting from life. He had a natural, raw talent that amazed and inspired all who knew him. Tim was also influenced by MU professors Jennifer Wiggs and Jo Stealey.

He was passionate about art history and collected many art books. He and Jane eventually decided to buy a house in Boonville with a majestic river view.

In recent years, Tim’s desire for making art intensified. He investigated form and idea with an even greater urgency, setting a goal to do a portrait a day. Tim was a tireless seeker, a fearless innovator and an extremely sensitive artist. He died suddenly Dec. 19, 2011, at 58 years old.

This collection is only a part of a vast body of work by Tim’s in his last 20 years. In addition to attending the Jan. 18th opening reception, please join the discussion “Remembering Tim” at the Feb. 5th “Seeing Visions” Orr Street Studio event, 6 to 8 p.m.

A note on the images in this post: They are all under copyright, and I've admittedly copied-wrong by pinching them from Tim's Shitao Flickr photostream. My intentions are purely to help promote the exhibition at Orr Street, and to encourage you to look at Tim's work online, too. The pictures I've selected may not be in the exhibit. Finally, depending on Jane's wishes, I may be taking them off this post when the exhibition's done (or sooner). But the links to Tim's online collections will remain.

1 comment:

David Biddle said...

Tim's work is so inspiring. I love this appreciation. I grew up in Columbia but have lived in Philadelphia now for over 30 years and rarely make it back. I stumbled on Tim's work several years ago and was transfixed. I've written about his effect on me and how his images got me through some tough times trying to finish my first novel. Thanks so much for this and I'm bookmarking OP OP for future visits. Makes me feel like I'm partway home...