Sunday, March 28, 2021

Robert Williams: Peripheral Bogies, 'Mr. Bitchin'', and a quickie lowbrow thumbnail sketch.

(NOTE: Some images in this friendly post may not be kid-friendly or workplace-friendly, or friendly to certain sensitive individuals.)

I believe the discussion my friends and I were having had wandered onto a topic that included altered states of consciousness, the uniqueness of any individual's perception of reality, fatigued delusions, peripheral vision, inner demons and 'monsters of The Id'. Yes, of course, it's all typical coffee klatsch fare. Along that path, I flashed on the works of Robert Williams, and the image below...

'Peripheral Bogies', acrylic on watercolor paper, 1975 (color)
"This rather strange painting reveals an hysterical woman looking into a mirror which she is holding while being plagued by creatures in her peripheral vision. The double ring vignette around the scene represents the picture as seen by her."

'Peripheral Bogies', 1975 (b&w) (via GoogleBooks)

In describing the image to my friends, I took a brief pass at contextualizing Williams' works for them. This post picks up on that thread. A brief introduction, a jumping-off point to discover more. 

(from wikipedia) 
"Robt. Williams (born March 2, 1943), is an American painter, cartoonist, and founder of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine." 
His own work and Juxtapoz Magazine contributed to the origin of the term 'Lowbrow Art' and its proliferation as an art movement.

Certainly my first exposure to the world of Williams was as a kid in the 1960s and early '70s, glimpsing contraband issues of Zap Comix, where his artwork appeared alongside that of fellow Underground cartoonists Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson and others. That and seeing his cool Hot Rod art in ads in car culture magazines, during his stint working in the 'Big Daddy' Roth studio.

The Underground Comix and illustrations of the 1960s gave way to more painterly pursuits in the 1970s, '80s and beyond, beyond. Gallery shows, album covers, monographs and book collections...

My strongest recommendation: If you find an opportunity to see any of Robert Williams paintings in person, do it. In small reproductions, we can appreciate the composition, fine line detail, vivid color - - and certainly the vibe, but when you see the full-size work in front of you and can see the loose-but-controlled expressiveness of the brush strokes, you realize you're seeing something else entirely. Do it!

'Appetite For Destruction', 1978.
The banned 'rapey' cover from
Guns N' Roses 1987 debut LP.

Queen Califia, Namesake of California, 2018

Purple As An Inexplicable Color

See ALSO: You can learn more by watching the 2010 documentary"Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin'", currently streaming at YouTube, and elsewhere around the interwebs.

Follow links to more…

- Official Website

- ACID HEAD: The Conceptual Realism Of Robert Williams - YouTube (2011, 49 mins.)

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