Antoine Williams’ interdisciplinary practice is an investigation of power and perception through the lens of critical race theory. Heavily influenced by science fiction, and his rural, working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina, Antoine has created his own mythology about the complexities of contemporary Black life. An artist-educator, Antoine received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and his MFA from UNC-Chapel Hill. He helped start the God City Art Collective in Charlotte, where he participated in a number of socially engaged, community-based art projects. He is a member of the North Carolina Black Artists for Liberation (NCBAFL). A group dedicated to making art institutions in North Carolina more equitable spaces for BIPOC communities. In 2020, Antoine partnered with a number of museums to fundraise for Black Lives Matter and organizations protesting the criminal justice system. He also worked with the Biden/Harris campaign creating public art to spur Black voter turnout to counter voter suppression. He has exhibited in a number of places, including at the Mint Museum of Art, Michigan State University, Columbia Museum of Art, Smack Mellon Brooklyn, 21c Museum, Elsewhere Museum, The McColl Center of Art and Innovation, the California Museum of Photography as well as many other venues. He has taken part in a virtual residency at The Center For Afrofuturist Studies, in 2022 he is slated to attend the Joan Mitchel Residency in New Orleans and is in the 2021 Drawing Center viewing program, He is also a recipient of the 2017 Joan Mitchell Award for Painters and Sculptors and the 2018 Harpo Foundation Grant Award. His work is in the collection of the Mint Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art. He’s given talks at Auburn University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Williams is an associate professor of art at Guilford College.
My interdisciplinary practice explores the notion of society as monstrous and its effects on Black physical, mental, and emotional states of being. I use the radical Black imagination to investigate themes of power, perception, the body as an archive, and humanity as they relate to institutional inequality. I’ve created mythology, about the complexities of contemporary Black life. My work surveys how the bodies, lives, and actions of Black people who are often overlooked by history and the archive are evidence of societal infractions. My work sits at the intersection of speculative fiction, monster theory, Afro-surrealism, and critical race theory. The result is a process-based practice involving installation, painting, drawing, collage, assemblage, and sound. I use materiality to investigate the absurdities of what Afrosurrealist D. Scott Miller calls the “future-past”, or the RIGHT NOW. Meaning we don’t have to wait for a speculative future for Black possibilities.
Much of my work references the west coast Black arts assemblage movement of the 1960s and 70s, as well as artists like Jack Whitten and Howardena Pindell who dealt with process and materiality. These works are inspired by personal experiences of the American south from a rural working-class, upbringing, in Red Springs, North Carolina that related to wider contemporary concerns are part of larger conversations about race and class.