PHOTOGRAPHS cannot compete with the experience of viewing an Aubrey Williams in person.
The flattening effect of the lens does nothing to convey the layers of texture in his paintings, nor how vivid their colour or how vast their scale.
Unfortunately, until now, opportunities to view the Guyanan-born artist’s work have been scarce, due to him falling out of favour in the 1980s. Now, like buses, two have come along at the same time – one at London’s October Gallery and the second here in Liverpool.
The Walker’s show demonstrates Williams’s consistency in terms of influence and technique, but there is nothing samey about his paintings. Viewed at a distance, they are remarkable for their great expanses of colour, but closer up it is their textural detail that grabs you – almost mottled in parts, giving the appearance of soft focus in others.
Burnished oranges and reds contrast with deep greens and turquoises in Maya Matrix II, while Time and the elements, also from his later Olmec Maya series, resembles marbling in ink. Pumping Shostakovich through headphones for visitors to listen to while viewing the painting his music inspired is a nice touch.
Set your watches or you may be found in the gallery three days later, hypnotised in front of one of the works.