MVA Open Studios: Philemona Williamson

Philemona Williamson in studio with work in progress, oil on canvas

Manufacturers Village Artist Studios, located in an 1880’s historic industrial complex at 356 Glenwood Avenue in East Orange, NJ, will feature the work of over 60 different artists at its annual open studios weekend, Friday 10/15 (VIP Preview) and Saturday thru Sunday from 11-5, 10/16 and 10/17.

Philemona Williamson is a narrative painter. Williamson has exhibited her work for over 25 years at the June Kelly Gallery in NYC, and recently, at her mid-career retrospective at the Montclair Art Museum in NJ. She is also represented by Jenkins-Johnson Gallery in San Francisco, where she is having a solo show in September. Philemona has received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation For the Arts.

Her public works include fused-glass murals for the MTA Arts in Transit Program at the Livonia Avenue Station in Brooklyn, and a mosaic mural in the Glenwood Campus School for the NYC School Authority. She is currently creating paintings for the children’s book “Lubaya’s Quiet Roar”, from Penguin Random House.

Tell me about yourself and your art.

My narrative paintings explore the tenuous bridge between adolescence and adulthood, encapsulating the intersection of innocence and experience at its most piercing and poignant moment. The metaphorical images focus on the transitional period of adolescence, when personal discovery and awareness collide with the force of worldly knowledge. 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.

oil on linen , 48”x 60” 2021

What will we see in your studio?

When you visit my studio you will see my inspiration wall, a collection of wallpaper, fabric, dolls, objects and children’s clothing I often include in my paintings. I will be showing a series of paintings on paper inspired by my toy collection. I am working on a series of paintings for Miami Basel and for my solo show at June Kelly Gallery in NYC which opens in December.

oil on linen , 48”x 60” 2021

oil on linen , 48”x 60” 2021