Loading...
 

Strange Days

William Fields is a largely self-taught artist from Winston-Salem, N.C., whose only formal art training came at Duke University where he studied medical illustration for a time.

??
That medical connection is apropos. His intricate drawings in colored pencil and pastel look like expressionistic, mystical visualizations of the internal workings of the body. But it's a body rendered not entirely realistically as a mass of flesh, muscle and blood. It's a fantastical, imagined sphere where psychology, feeling, sexuality and some malevolent tendencies are visualized in heady, intense drawings.

??
Like a mix of filmmaker Kenneth Anger's demonic reveries and Eastern mysticism, Fields' kinetic, perception-altering drawings marry the fleshy spectacles of Francis Bacon with Peter Max's colorful psychedelia.

??
Fields' drawings operate like kaleidoscopes — seeming to reveal more information and detail over time. Stare long enough and the faces of people, horned men and animals, breasts and phalluses, tongues and eyeballs emerge from every nook and cranny of his orgiastic drawings of humanlike figures.

??
As an adult, Fields has found refuge from his strict Southern Baptist upbringing in Eastern religion and meditation, an altered view of the world his work conveys with marvelous force and energy. The transportive dimension of Fields' work may be linked to the out-of-body visionary experiences that the artist says he's had since childhood. Fields now produces his artwork during self-induced trances, he says, allowing him to connect to the visionary universe rendered in his drawings.

??
Fields' work at Orange Hill Art Gallery represents a span of time from 1997 to 2005, when Fields' work had morphed from busy, frame-filling masses of visual information whose pastel colors and delicate lines can recall the work of Thornton Dial, to cleaner, more psychologically heady and conceptually satisfying works suggesting artists as diverse as Iona Rozeal Brown and Philip Guston.

??
In his more recent works, Fields compresses and congeals astounding masses of visual information into his humanoid figures, which occupy the image foreground, set off from beautifully hued blue and peach skies behind them. The work is intoxicating, sensual, visionary and not to be missed.

??
Hermetica: The Art of William Fields runs through Jan. 12 at Orange Hill Art Gallery. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 331 Elizabeth St., Suite C. 404-215-2100. www.orangehillart.com.



More By This Writer

Article

Tuesday June 27, 2017 08:52 pm EDT
Sofia Coppola imagines female desire in 'The Beguiled' | more...

Article

Friday April 27, 2012 03:00 pm EDT
Local painter loses her innocence in a dark, abstract solo show | more...

Article

Monday April 23, 2012 05:00 pm EDT
Chastain Arts Center's new exhibit is quiet and contemplative | more...

Article

Friday April 13, 2012 04:00 am EDT
Duo's Beep Beep Gallery collaboration is the best kind of cultural time capsule | more...

Article

Friday March 30, 2012 10:30 am EDT
Solo exhibit transforms Get This! Gallery into dive bar | more...
Search for more by Felicia Feaster

[Admin link: Strange Days]