A Visit To The Williams College Museum Of Art

Jon meditating in the Reading Room at the Williams College Museum

I do it often, but  didn’t realize it until I was standing in front of the Larry Rivers painting at the Williams College Museum yesterday.   The painting is large probably 8’x10′ if not bigger.   It’s an abstract of one woman painted in three different outfits.

I look at the brush strokes, the shapes, lines  and other marks made on the canvas and I imagine painting them.  I can feel what the bush feels like on the canvas.  I can feel how wet or dry the paint is. It’s like I’m tracing the painting with my mind. It’s so visceral I feel like I know what it was like to paint it.

I do this with certain drawings too, tracing the lines with my mind to understand how those lines give the illusion of a three dimensional figure or object.

It’s a way of entering the piece of art, or knowing it on another level.

Then there are installations, like Maya Freelon’s that anyone can enter in a completely physical way.

Freelon’s installation, made of tissue paper and ink, is part of the exhibit called Emancipation

Maya Freelon said about her art….”As a child, I spent my summers with Granny Franny, and she taught me how to make something out of nothing, how to make a way of no way, and how to make quilts one piece at a time.

To see more the Emancipation exhibit, click here. 

I didn’t take many photos because I just wanted to experience the art in the moment.  But I couldn’t resist taking a video of Freelon’s installation.  All of her pieces touched me

We are fortunate to live so close to a museum like the one at Williams Collage.  It is free (they have a donation jar) and has an every changing permanent collection that is a great mix of historic and contemporary art.  And  because it is small, I can spend as much time as I want looking at the art and still see it all.

The museum also has a reading room, a quiet, meditative space that is as nourishing to Jon as the art is to me.

4 thoughts on “A Visit To The Williams College Museum Of Art

  1. A friend had a print of a cat playing with a ball of yarn. It was made of exactly 11 lines. In my head I’d go over and over the drawing while sitting in her office, trying to imagine how the artist made the lines connect in a way that created something so full of movement with just 11 black lines.

  2. Because of the way you took this video, I felt like I was moving through it, almost feeling the fabric gently touch my face. And I love the way you described how you experience a painting or drawing. I’ll definitely try that.

    1. I was hoping for that Sandy. I didn’t know how well the video came out till I looked at it afterwards. And I’d be interested to know how you feel about seeing a painting that way.

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