Sue Williams

March 5 – April 23, 2022

Press preview: Saturday, March 5, 11:00 am

Opening reception: Saturday, March 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Regen Projects is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Sue Williams. In her seventh solo presentation with the gallery since 1992, Williams presents a group of works in which formal ingenuity hovers at the margin of abstraction and representation.


Attending CalArts in the 1970s where she studied under John Baldessari, among others, Williams broke onto the art scene in the late 1980s with abrasively political and mordantly funny paintings that combined figuration with feminist cultural critique. Her work has undergone a number of stylistic shifts since that time, adopting a relatively abstract and lyrical approach in which bright colors and buoyant forms act as foils to darker undercurrents in her work. As curator Lionel Bovier remarks, this quality points to “the limits of what can be represented and figured out, the fringes where forms only mark the temporary organization of the chaos of the real, and where the subject is constantly threatened by the return of the repressed.”


In her newest compositions, Williams achieves a delicate balance between density and sparseness, combining line-drawn figures with expressive marks and bursts of color. Radically nonhierarchical, the raucous array of imagery, line, and color in these paintings appears unbound by distinctions between high and low, foreground and background, or any sense of visual primacy. This allover quality subtly gestures towards Abstract Expressionism, even as Williams dismantles the movement’s infatuation with masculine seriousness and artistic genius through invocations of populist forms like illustration and cartoon. Her commitment to raw, gestural immediacy perhaps belies the complex network of marks she orchestrates in her compositions, producing an impression of movement and understated depth.


“The machismo-laden history of modern painting that has been handed down to us has largely failed to account for feminists with formal concerns, but Williams has continuously short-circuited our reliance on such categories to understand what we’re looking at. …Formalism doesn’t erase feminism. She deals with the male-dominated history of American modernist painting not by positioning herself in opposition to it, but by giving it the finger, not playing on its terms. …She is showing us that these restrictive categories do not hold. The work is a messy space where things don’t have to get cleaned up; all of it can hang in suspension. She is showing us the rebelliousness of being a feminist and a formalist.”


— Ashton Cooper, “Sue Williams” in ArtReview, 2017



Sue Williams (b. 1954, Chicago Heights, IL) received her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. She lives and works in Brooklyn.


Williams’s work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions worldwide including Institut Valencià d'Art Modern; Vienna Secession; Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; Kunstlerhaus, Graz; and Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva; among others. Her work is included in major museum collections such as Art Institute of Chicago; Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva; Dallas Museum of Art; The Broad, Los Angeles; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Institut Valencià d'Art Modern; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary, Seoul; New Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others.


An opening reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, March 5 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.


For all press inquiries, please contact Elizabeth Gartner at +1 310 276 5424 or


For all other inquiries, please contact Jennifer Loh, Stephanie Dudzinski, Bryan Barcena, or Anthony Salvador at Regen Projects.