Sarah Williams Staying Home

Talley Dunn Gallery

April 15 – May 27, 2023 Opening reception for the artist April 15th from 5 – 7pm
Talley Dunn Gallery is excited to announce the opening of Staying Home, a solo exhibition of intimate works by renowned painter Sarah Williams. The exhibition continues Williams’ interest in the “tableaux of American life.” Through beauitfully lit night scenes of homes and buildings across the United States, Williams explores how the places we inhabit inform our identities, and what it means for “home” to no longer be what it once was.
We invite you to join us in celebrating Sarah Williams on Saturday, April 15th with a reception for the artist from 5pm – 7pm, and artist remarks at 6pm.

This exhibition features works from various phases in my life – all inspired by where I feel my home is, how I understand the concept of home and where I find it. I’ve always tried to use my paintings as a way to honor my personal history in the Midwest, but over time, it is becoming clearer to me why and how I relate to my home. I now realize that while creating these paintings initially was a way for me to process the homesickness I felt after leaving my childhood hometown to pursue an MFA degree in the urban setting of Dallas/Fort Worth, I now create them as a sort of souvenir of the places I left and the structures and things I knew most intimately. Even though my job as an art professor eventually brought me back to my home region, I’ve had to come to grips with the realization that “home” is now someplace I don’t fully recognize. 
Moving to Texas to pursue my education created geographical distance between the place where I was located and my home. That, plus the distance created by time, has made me aware of my new role as a visitor. My pride and passion for the rural Midwest remains as strong as it ever was, but now that comes through in my paintings like a witness’ perspective. Each time I return home to visit family, I notice more and more store fronts are empty along our Main Street or see that important landmarks have fallen into disrepair or are completely gone. The rate of entropy among places that once seemed so grand and central to my town is startling. 
I’m aware of how, over time, ways of life shape and define people and the places in which they live. Making these paintings helps me consider whether disappearance can be meaningful and if so, in what way it’s meaningful for my home community and for myself. I’m considering where I’ll find “home” again and where I can “go back” to.

 All places acquire layers of history. This specific place is grounding to me, personally, and I realize how significantly it shaped my identity. I’m hopeful that the shift I’m observing in my hometown is a cycle that has occurred before in one way or another. Maybe it looks different to a current resident than to a visitor.

Sarah Williams, 2023

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