Playing Dress Up: Robin Williams

2 Aug

I find myself continually drawn to artists who realistically paint the human figure, but reimagine it in unique ways.  ( see:  Deborah Scott, Susan Hall, Jeff Whipple & so many more I’ve yet to share with you ).  So it goes without saying that the work of New York based painter Robin Williams ( no, not THAT Robin Williams ) got me really excited.

Party Hat by Robin Williams

You know I love work that’s just a little bit cheeky.  Williams’ paints scenes from childhood imaginations & experiences and portraits of figures dressed up in a stunning array of absurd costumes.  Her wide-eyed, willowy figures have a Norman Rockwell-ish timelessness to them.  But Williams invests in her gawky, pre-pubescent figures a darkness and absurdity missing from Rockwell’s happy-go-lucky world.

Ornamented Boy by Robin Williams

Her portrait figures pose stiffly in outlandish costumes and headresses, seemingly unsure of how they found themselves in such a situation.  Perhaps speaking to how we begin as wide-eyed children, but as we grow into adults, we find ourselves wearing the most ridiculous costumes in order to appear to fit into someone else’s conception of who we are.

Flower Cap by Robin Wiliams

Other figures find themselves in the midst of a preposterous scene, almost like a dream of a childhood memory.. the way we remember places and events from childhood in a more fantastical, exaggerated way.

Swoon At The Water Pump by Robin Williams

Tired Prince by Robin Williams

The portraits, for me, especially convey that feeling of what it was like to be a kid full of energy and vitality only to be forced to sit still, whether in school, church, etc.  That feeling of a corralled hurricane, just waiting to break free of the constraints being forced upon us.  On second thought, you don’t have to be a child to feel that way, do you?

Collar On Boy by Robin Williams

Please visit Robin Williams’ website to see more of her work online.

The featured image is titled Yellow Hat.  All images courtesy of the artist’s website.

10 Responses to “Playing Dress Up: Robin Williams”

  1. Art Toys August 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Oh, these are fabulous! Those oh-so-impressive textures and reflections mixed into somewhat surreal scenes – thank you, Lesley, for bringing Williams’ work to my attention!

    • Lesley August 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

      Those little discoveries inside each work are so nuanced! Glad you enjoyed them, Susan!

      PS– haven’t forgotten about linking to your blog! On my to-do list. 🙂

  2. toemailer August 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    We would love to post the 4th photo down at toemail if you do not mind?

    We’d just need a location and we’d be good to go!

  3. toemailer August 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Will do but what city/state would you like us to post in the title of the photo?

  4. toemailer August 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    We would normally do the blog owner’s yet have the link to the artist’s site.

    Sorry … just needed more clarification.

    • Lesley August 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Sent you an email!

  5. VIVA.V August 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    If someone could actually recreate Robin Williams party hat that would be sweet! I love the somewhat willowy figures that Williams uses in his paintings, it gives so much character. Oh and I’m following you I hope you will pop over and follow me too.


    • Lesley August 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like Robin’s work, I agree, the party hat is fab!


  1. It’s Like High School Without the Bad Hair « Artsy Forager - January 6, 2012

    […] HAIR:  Robin Williams Tired Prince by Robin […]

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