The artist might not have a sharply defined thesis about what this all means—how floating ideas of gender intersect with notions of various crafts—but these things somehow bubble up in the paintings. “I want them to look crafty,” Williams says, reveling in how the adjective can seem like a slur, since it’s “domestic, feminine…and witch-like.” Crafty, after all, conjures images of that suburban art-supply megastore, Michael’s; visions of hobbyists and Sunday dabblers.
“Everybody has access to that type of painting,” the artist adds, “so it takes the mystery out of the ‘artist genius’ archetype—which I like.”
Still, she’s quick to admit that what she does is pretty damn complicated. “How do the edges work?” is a question she constantly runs up against, since a single canvas might involve multiple types of paint, each with its own quirks and needs, plus yards of masking tape. Williams compares her process to training for a sporting event: “You learn how to do it, and then it’s game day—you have to execute it, and most of the time, you have one shot,” she says. Still, I’m left with the impression that the difficulty is half the fun—that she takes a certain pleasure in making life in the studio unpredictable, in flirting with failure.