Lois Williams

Lois Williams

Imaging Wales

Commentator David Alston wrote or Lois Williams’ "passion to make objects that speak, that are, as Yeats frames himself in a later poem, a ‘coagulate of stuff’." Her works are just that. In Certain Welsh Artists, she speaks of the appropriateness of materials always being an issue:

In my studio I work surrounded by things: wire which reminds me of hair, real hair and synthetic; horsehair, sheep’s wool. Muslin, felt, rope paper: all sorts really. These are works in their early stages, works halfway made, works abandoned and left for a while. Very occasionally, in a cleaned-up space there is a final, finished work attached to a wall, or attached to the floor, or attached to the ceiling.

Looking at her work, one is immediately reminded of Joseph Beuys or Eva Hesse, artists for whom commonplace material has infinitely more than its usual resonance, but in Lois Williams’ case there is a profound difference; her materials are at one with place and also come to possess an affinity with one another, which she recognises. She conspires to compound this, as her works metamorphose through time. They also have a highly poetic quality and her placement of objects, whether found ones used unmodified, or her own amalgams and reconstructions, have a precision and lyricism, an almost Japanese aesthetic sensibility that is practically Zen. It is as though her materials choose their relationships. Although she herself comes from a farming family, her work is highly contemplative, distanced from the utilitarianism and frequent brutality with which the farmer reacts to nature. Williams has some affinity with David Nash: in both there is clear evidence of a preoccupation with time and place, but in Williams; case also with memory. Her works, as a consequence, seem to possess a pronounced and more obvious spiritual dimension but this is combined with a significant degree of politicisation. Whereas in Nash this is largely ecological in focus, with Lois Williams her political paradigm encompasses issues respecting Welsh culture and the language.

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