Posted: March 31, 1999
Diane Williams thinks big and paints even bigger, though her studio at CSUS doesn't have room for the really imposing pieces.
For those, you usually have to visit the graduate student's "I an I Art Studio" in Benicia. There, with 2,000 square feet at her disposal, her canvases reach as high as 8 feet and as wide as 15 feet. Simply applying the primer is a tall order.
Williams, who has won two prestigious art awards for CSUS graduate students, likes viewers to be absorbed in the enormity of the work.
Sacramento will get a rare chance to see her larger works at an exhibit at the CSUS Witt Gallery, which opens April 13, the first day of the Festival of the Arts.
The show will feature new work based loosely on the theme of bridges. The paintings will be on panels and taken apart for shipping to Sacramento.
"The mistakes you make, they are huge mistakes that are tough to hide. That can be a little scary," Williams says. "But I enjoy working on a large canvas, and I really am painting for the sake of painting. These aren't the type of works preferred by most galleries or which usually do all that well commercially."
Before moving to Benicia and enrolling at CSUS especially to study with Oliver Jackson and Joan Moment, Williams traveled extensively in Jamaica and Costa Rica. Her paintings are influenced by her travels and her upbringing in the Bay Area. She draws on the Funk Art of Roy DeForest, the work of Philip Guston and the works of numerous West Coast Figurative artists.
Her first solo show was in 1997 at the Benicia Public Library. She has also been in numerous group shows, including one this year at the Golden State Museum in Sacramento and one last year at the Museum of Art in Los Angeles.
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