Peter Williams

Peter Williams shifted readily between figuration and abstraction to form complex statements that cross multiple histories - social, political, personal and art.  In his essay for With So Little To Be Sure Of, Ossei-Mensah states, "Constructed with a sense of urgency and concern, Williams's work speak frankly to our society by articulating the beauty and horror of daily life for Black communities in the United States.  By invoking the genres of history painting and traditional portraiture with his own flair - like masters such as Bosch, Bruegel, Goya and Velazquez before him - Williams has candidly chronicled life as he saw it via dark humor and storytelling, in an effort to covey the truth through a critical lens.  As his predecessors have done before him, Williams's expressive approach provides the viewer a window into his personal anxieties about violence against black bodies."


Peter Williams (born Nyack, NY) was a noted American artist and a known figure in the Detroit arts community.  While he retired as Professor, University of Delaware, Williams spent 17 years in Detroit working as an artist and professor at Wayne State University. His work was regularly featured at Revolution (and later Paul Kotula Projects) and other cultural institutions in metro-Detroit.  His commanding work, Portrait of Christopher D. Fischer, Third Reich Skinhead, 1995, collected by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1996, remains a constant presence in the museum's Modern and Contemporary galleries.  During a career that spans four decades, Williams's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and it is included in such other public collections as Smithsonian Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Howard University, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Delaware Art Museum, as well as the Pizzuti Collection, The Bunker/Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Mott-Warsh Collection, and Jorge Perez Collection, to name a few.  Williams earned his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.