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Philemona Williamson

 (born 1952)
Philemona Williamson is active/lives in New Jersey.  Philemona Williamson is known for portrait, child and adolescent figure and genre painting.

Philemona Williamson

Biography from the Archives of askART

Philemona Williamson paints children and teenagers from her imagination and own childhood memories in a personal style close to surrealism. The fifty-one year old artist, born in New York City, now (2003) lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey with a studio in Bloomfield.

Williamson's paintings involve a certain competition or tension among children, a struggle for self-expression and fulfillment, perhaps even dominance as a survival technique. They exist in their own unreal, gravity-defying space; objects whirl and float about them, though everything is very clearly defined with an emphasis on their contours. The artist clearly has a need to fill much of the picture space with "things."

In "Tumbling Idle," 2002, three young adolescents completely fill the picture space, along with three brown goose ceramics that seem nearly the symbolic objects of violence and actual weaponry employed by a boy and girl to knock another boy down.

In 2003, she did a mosaic mural for the Glen Oaks School in Queens, New York.

Williamson had an interesting and unusual art education early in life, studying with artists May Stevens and Joan Thorne when she was only in middle school. After the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, she received a scholarship to Bennington College in Vermont. Though she graduated in 1973, Williamson encountered the prejudice, so widespread in colleges, universities and the art world generally, against figurative painting, which was her interest. She received her M.A. degree in 1979 from New York University.

Artists who have supported and/or influenced her personally and as an artist include Photo-Realist Don Eddy, printmaker Richard Haas, figurative artist Sidney Tillim, Balthus, and the Mexican muralists, Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros. An exhibition of Haitian art at the Brooklyn Museum in the 1980s was also important to her in terms of emotional content and color.

Williamson has received grants from the Joan Mitchell and Pollock-Krasner Foundations, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. In addition to gallery shows, she had a one-man exhibition at the Queens Museum in 1988, and exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum in 2003.

Williamson's teaching resume includes The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson; and Cooper Union and Parsons School of Design, both in New York City.

Exhibitions include:
2001 State University of New York, Old Westbury
1999 John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
1993 Pennsylvania State University, University Park
1992 East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania

Grants include:
1993-94 Ludwig Vogelstein Grant
1992 Arts in Transit Poster Commission, Union Square Station, NY
1991 New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship in Painting
1988 Artist's Space, Exhibition Grant
1983 Millay Colony for the Arts, Artist-in-Residence, Austerlitz, NY

Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Hampton University Museum, VA
Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, NY


From "ARTnews", April 2003
By Jessica Dheere

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About  Philemona Williamson

Born:  1952 - New York, New York
Known for:  portrait, child and adolescent figure and genre painting