Philemona Williams is acclaimed for narrative paintings in which she populates with children and adolescents, beautifully encapsulating themes of time and memory, revealing fleeting moments that are at once unknown but relatable. Her paintings inspire infinite narratives as her subjects intertwine with our own experiences.
Williamson explores the tenuous bridge between adolescence and adulthood, encapsulating the intersection of innocence and experience at its most piercing and poignant moment. The lush color palette and dreamlike positioning of the figures ensures that their vulnerability - of age, of race, of sexual identity - is seen as strength and not as weakness.
Williamson recently had a mid-career retrospective at the Montclair Art Museum, NJ and collaborated with author Marilyn Nelson to create a series of paintings for the children’s book “Lubaya’s Quiet Roar” (Penguin Random House). She is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Pollock-Krasner, National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. Williamson also served on the advisory board of the Getty Center for Education. She has shown in institutions including The Queens Museum of Art, The Bass, Miami, and Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis. Williamson’s work is in museums including the Montclair Art Museum, NJ, Kalamazoo Institutes of Arts, MI, Mint Museum, NC, Smith College Museum of Art, MA, Hampton University Museum, VA and Sheldon Art Museum, NE. Her public works include murals for the MTA Arts in Transit Program. Art & Object named her “10 Contemporary Black Artists You Should Know More About”. She currently teaches painting at Pratt Institute and Hunter College in New York.