Unpolarized light emitted by the sun, by a lamp, or by a candle flame creates light waves that vibrate in more than one plane in a variety of directions. It is a fitting name for Todd Williamson's current show since this abstract expressionist focuses so strongly on light and movement.
Williamson captures this movement throughout his work in strong vertical and passive horizontal lines, which create an unpolarized light effect on the canvas and also provide sexual tension: When his lines are vertical, they bring strength and violence that some might associate with masculinity and when the lines are horizontal there is a zen-like calm about them that feels feminine. He paints raised lines in oils so crisp and controlled, then masterfully layers color upon color to create a passionate and sexually charged finished work. Perhaps Italian art historian Marco di Mauro describes it best when he says the work achieves "the visible perception of emotions."
The work "Not Enough to Know" is in brilliant red with a dark sepia horizontal line navigating across the center of the horizon. There is tension here from depth and movement. The smaller piece "No Way to Know" features strong blue vertical lines that pulse with even more violence, and while this piece also creates movement, there are occasional lapses.
"I Want You to Know" is a piece that is all white with a dark vertical line that cuts through the center to the top of the work. It could be a phallus, a monolith or an eternal monument. Inscrutably, Williamson provides no easy answer, but rather lets the viewer interpret as he or she wishes, which is, ultimately, much more rewarding.
"Unpolarized Light" is on view at George Billis Gallery (2716 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.) from April 4 through May 25.