Artist Feature: Diane Williams
Editor Shenyah Webb, Art, February 15th, 2017
"Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here!"
As a child, Diane Williams immigrated to the U.S. with her family to pursue better opportunities. Coming from a third world country that has undergone major political and socio-economic turmoil, her parents aspired to give their daughters the “American Dream.” Her immigrant background reflects her identity as an Asian American female with conflicting cultures and personal struggles of xenophobia, race, and gender disparities.
I asked Diane to expand on her body of work “Monsters & Aliens,” how it speaks of her experience as an Asian American female, and her current stance on the political world as it stands in the wake of Trump, specific to immigration.
DIANE WILLIAMS: “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here!” is just one of the chants in our streets after the new U.S. administration signed executive orders banning Muslims, ending DACA, and building the wall. We are living in a contentious political atmosphere where the people in power perpetuate racism, misogyny and bigotry. It is undeniable that all the hateful messages have had a resounding impact on the marginalized. We are seeing dramatic surges in hate crimes and intimidation after the election; suicide is also on the rise. While some feel a sense of safety, for others “life, liberty and justice” is just an illusion.
As an artist, I strive to work towards positive change. I started my series, “Monsters & Aliens” in 2016 about the fake sense of inclusion in America. Now, it is evident that the “other” will always be seen as the “outsider,” the monsters and aliens who do not belong. Their contributions and positive impact in this country are obscured and have become scapegoats, exploited into the frustrations of others.
My work parallels my background as an Asian American female. I examine culture through personal experiences, combining neo-surrealism with my personal narrative as an immigrant. My media and compositions are diverse, mixing cultures and appearances that are pleasantly chaotic and strangely familiar.
I’m interested in drawing viewers into a space where both they and myself as the artist are implicated and reflected. I mix disparate, disjointed, and repeated elements: shadow vs. light, two-dimensional vs. three-dimensional space, geometric vs. organic, hard vs. soft, and abstraction vs. realism. These elements create visual tension, evoking a sense of the uncanny.
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Diane Williams is a multi-disciplinary artist and an emerging curator living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BFA degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2013. Williams’s work has been featured in select publications and exhibited in solo shows and several group shows including Walter Maciel, Torrance Art Museum, LA Artcore, and Gallery 825, with works in both private and public collections including the National Immigration Law Center. She is currently working on an upcoming solo show and getting ready for a few residencies scheduled this year and in 2018.
Photo credit to Tatiana Mia Photography.