his first comprehensive monograph dedicated to the American artist Sue Williams follows her work from the early 1980s to her most recent paintings. As Ruth Erickson explains in her essay, “Wanting to paint as a student at CalArts in the 1970s heyday of conceptualism, and interested in drawing as a young artist during the painting boom of the 1980s in New York, Sue Williams tends to occupy the margins. She productively and selectively works out of step with dominant trends and discourses, devising visual strategies that engage the contexts of contemporary art and politics in striking ways. Over the course of her 40-year career, Williams has made an array of artwork, from modest paintings of mostly representational scenes in a cartoonish style to large-scale abstract paintings erupting in brilliant colors.” Sue William’s paintings have constantly straddled a narrow line between figurative depiction and complete abstraction, as in some works of the early 2000s, in which the monochromatic brushstroke becomes a central element. In her newest works, these two realms are mixed anew, for although the images are abstract, the beholder comes across recognizable details—individual body parts or formations reminiscent of human organs.
Sue Williams has continuously explored and challenged the fantasies of feminism, sexuality, gender, and culture in her work. Throughout her practice she has explored ambiguous boundary between a secure place and an insecure one, between the real and the imagined, drawing the viewer into her world of provocative sexual politics.