Dave Williams, visual art professor of ceramics at California Baptist University, finished his 30-year retrospective show Oct. 18 at a closing ceremony event attended by CBU alumni, students and faculty.
The event was the final opportunity to share in supporting the artist and admire his ever growing body of work.
Williams’ work was showcased at the CBU Art Gallery in downtown Riverside. His art is primarily composed of tightly crafted sculptures molded into familiar objects, according to Williams’ written descriptions of his work.
During the show, a number of pieces were on display, including Williams’ 1989 piece, “Watering.” “Watering,” which is based off of an original photograph, was created by projecting an image he then painted on a vase. The picture features a suburban man watering his garden.
“My sister wanted me to paint a picture of her two sons, and I was doing realistic paintings at the time off of this style,” Williams said. “These take a lot more time. She had to wait 10 years for this painting. I just left it and left it and kept doing other things. She kept asking, ‘Where’s my painting?’ and I thought, ‘I’ve got to get this thing done before I die.’”
Williams also immortalized California Baptist University’s Fortuna statue in one of his works. He utilized an assortment of paint that he continually added after he was done with the piece. When looking closely at the image, the viewer can see the streaks of paint glued to the canvas.
“I’ll start messing up my painting by using wide brush strokes 10 times over,” Williams said. “Hopefully, the last one is the best one, but sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes they take a long time, sometimes they don’t. They can take hours, months or years.”
Students who attended the retrospective of Williams’ work were both impressed and moved by the effort he put into creating his pieces.
“I like the formless nature of the birds in his sculptures and how he melds the scripture with some of his pieces,” said Nicole Brent, sophomore kinesiology major.
Brent was especially taken with a ceramic piece featured Jesus chained to the cross with the outline of a heart decorated on it.
Williams, who was influenced by professors and major artists since his early days as a sculptor, has similarly made an impression on those who have seen him work on pieces over the course of their lives.
“I don’t think I was gifted with his ability,” said Nate Williams, David Williams’ son. “I’m actually taking ceramics for my first year at my high school, and the more I work with clay there the more I stop and say: ‘How did you do that?’ I was just so amazed. I love looking at it. I know what my dad does, and I know his techniques, and it’s different. That’s amazing.”