Visual & Studio Arts Lecture Series: Philemona Williamson
Time & Location
About the Event
Philemona Williamson is a narrative painter who has shown widely in the United States and abroad.
Williamson has exhibited her work most recently at the Jenkins-Johnson Gallery in San Francisco and for
over 25 years at the June Kelly Gallery in NYC. Her mid-career retrospective at the Montclair Art
Museum, NJ was in 2018. Her work 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. “My figures navigate a world of
uncertainty as they search for understanding—both internally and in ever-shifting environments. I see the
figures as vehicles to explore the existence of the most vulnerable adolescents, those evolving people of
color, grappling with what will define and identify them. My paintings give voice and space to invisibility.”
She is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Pollock
Krasner, National Endowment For The Arts, New York Foundation For The Arts and Millay Colony as well
as serving on the advisory board of the Getty Center for Education. Her work has been shown in many
solo and group exhibitions such as The Queens Museum of Art, Wisconsin's Kohler Art Center, The
Sheldon Museum in Nebraska, The Bass Museum in Miami, The Mint Museum in North Carolina, The
Forum of Contemporary Art in St. Louis, The International Bienal of Painting in Cuenca, Ecuador and The
Kalamazoo Art Museum, Kalamazoo, MI
She is represented in numerous private and public collections, including The Montclair Art Museum; The
Kalamazoo Art Institute; The Mint Museum of Art; Smith College Museum of Art; Hampton University
Museum; Sheldon Art Museum; Mott-Warsh Art Collection, and AT&T.
Her public works include fused- glass murals created for the MTA Arts in Transit Program at the Livonia
Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, a poster for the MTA Poetry In Motion and — for the NYC School
Authority — a mosaic mural in the Glenwood Campus School.
She currently teaches painting at Pratt Institute and Hunter College in NYC.
For Philemona’s latest project, she created a series of paintings for the children’s book “Lubaya’s Quiet
Roar” just out from Penguin Random House.