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Emily Williams-Wheeler

Emily Williams-Wheeler received her BA in Interior Design, with Distinction, from Iowa State University, in Ames.  Now based in Fargo, North Dakota, she has exhibited widely in the region including shows at the New York Mills Cultural Center, the Kaddatz Gallery in Fergus Falls, the Hjemkomst Center all in Minnesota; the Recreation and Cultural Center Gallery in Aberdeen, South Dakota; and the Center for Technology & Business in Bismarck and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, both of which are in North Dakota. Recently, Williams-Wheeler was awarded the TMI Artist-in-Residency award from The Arts Partnership of Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead. She currently lives and works in Fargo, North Dakota.

Artist Statement

Architecture, houses, and planar features are markedly important in Williams-Wheeler’s art, influenced by her interior design background as is color and conceptual "subliminality". Her painting presents the viewer with visual metaphors, allowing us to delve into the painting to contemplate more deeply the meaning of the work. There is an intimacy found in the pull of the graphite marks across textured canvas and an interest in the dichotomy between broad paint strokes and the delicate and thoughtful graphite line work and charcoal smudges. There is an immediate playfulness in the work—primarily through the use of color—only to be interrupted visually and conceptually by frenetic boxes and drips. Layers are built up in color washes—like translucent veils of acrylic paint—that absorb and accent fine lines and details. It is a combination that gives a deep, atmospheric depth and emotion to the work. The buildings represent people and lives, past or present. Similarly, the nest is a site of safety; a home. For Williams-Wheeler, birds represent intellect and wisdom, while also adding an element of mystery—is it a protector or a deviant? Through this creative synthesis, the visual dichotomy is read by the viewer and we fall, effortlessly, into the mind’s eye of the artist, going on a cerebral and emotional journey.