Very like a whale

Very like a whale

Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? Polonius: By th’ mass, and ‘tis like a camel indeed. Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel Polonius: It is backed like a weasel. Hamlet: Or like a whale? Polonius: Very like a whale.

—Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Selenas Mountain is pleased to announce Very like a whale, a solo exhibition by Philadelphia based artist Jamie Gray Williams. Taking its title from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the exhibition will present a new body of intriguing paintings and charcoal drawings invoking slapstick misfortunes.

Full of color and voluminous figures, characters in these loose swirling portraits have a chipper demeanor, but are caught in the midst of folly. Drawing from comedic sources like Groucho Marx, Punch and Judy, The Three Stooges, and Buster Keaton, these figures have a specific role to play, destined to fail, destined to fall. They are tripping and falling, as if they are the punchline of a satirical joke. The enmeshment of these humanoid forms connect in a dystopian vibrant dreamlike atmosphere involving questions of the self versus the other. Merging the comedic choreographed gesture with the cliché painted gestural mark, the mischievous scenes play out a jestering duo engaged in a lampooning encounter.

Jamie Gray Williams is an artist born and raised in Indiana. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 2017. Working primarily in painting and drawing, Williams utilizes fantasy and humor to explore questions about inter-subjective limits and the complex relationships of mind and body, imagination and reality, self and others. The results are expressive marks and color combinations loosely contained by vague figures that straddle waking nightmares and vaudeville performances. Williams was a 2015 participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science, Evansville, IN; Pilot Projects, Philadelphia, PA; Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA, and is in the collection of the University of Southern Indiana. Williams currently maintains a studio in Philadelphia and teaches drawing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Very like a whale

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