Juxtapoz Magazine – The Texture of a “Synonym” in Justin Williams’ New Works

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When I get stuck, I like to do a Google search for a suitable synonym. Some use ChatGPT, I use a synonym search. I thought of this over the weekend as I looked at these new paintings from Justin Williams. They are elegant, articulate story-paintings, which seem to be an entire tale on one canvas. Justin Williams’ latest show is a surprising departure from the figurative paintings we’ve been writing about for the last 30 years. Roberts Projects feels like the right synonym to describe what a good painting should be. All of it is here. 

Williams, who was born in Melbourne but now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico is at ease with his canvas. He builds a story and evokes a feeling which is both nostalgic and nuanced, yet also universal. One of the most striking paintings in the exhibition, The tap has sprung a leaking, this trap will be our trap and the glass only spills what it containsThe visceral setting in (2023), a relationship, domestic chores, a new beginning, now an adult, is vivid. The expressions on the faces of both concern and ignorance are a unique feature of the work. They’re making coffee, but it could just as well be a chemistry project. Williams’ talent is to leave you wanting more. This is what a great writer does. SynonymWhat is it for? —Evan Pricco



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