Sarah Williams paints softly illuminous scenes of seemingly empty homes and deserted neighborhood streets in rural Midwestern towns. Embraced by hazy night skies, bare roadside trees and unassuming shingled houses glow in the light spilling out of street lamps, windows, and strings of Christmas adornments. Williams’ oil on panel works capture the simultaneously disquieted and comforting atmosphere of ordinary small towns in the stillness of night. The paintings carefully attend to the character and identity of communities in isolated parts of the country. As increasing numbers of Americans move out of rural towns in favor of cities, Williams reminds us of the homes and places that still carry collective histories and memories.
Williams was raised in Brookfield, Missouri’s small-town farm culture. Her practice centers her personal experiences with and relationship to home. Therefore, the artist is intimately invested in finding meaning in peripheral sites that are often overlooked or ignored. Williams paints structures that have been lived in and worn with use, marking both how space defines people and how people shape space.