Warner Williams is a master for the ages, who takes as his subject matter motels, freeways, swimming pools, tract homes and power plants, and creates classics. He embraces an ordinary vernacular language and elevates it with a sense of craft and revelatory vision that makes drab subject matter into something luminous and telling about our times.
He broke free of both the softness and sentimentality of landscape painting, as well as the structural boredom of it. One of his decisive innovations is the vertical tiered collage method of composition. Instead of the standard polar relationship of “foreground/background” or “earth/sky”, Warner proposed a dialogue among three or more distinct perspectives, sitting right on top of each other toward unity and wholeness.
Warner has also reconciled any conflict between the artistic disciplines of abstraction versus representation. His work enjoys the best of both worlds, because his finer structures are mostly abstract forms and shapes dancing together, whereas his image is fully familiar and recognizable. He reminds the viewer of something real and familiar, and yet doesn’t allow the viewer to arrive at easy conclusions or file the experience away as “another nice landscape”.
Warner’s use of sharp-edged shapes filled with solid colors enhances the effect of his elaboration of color theory. One aspect of this color theory is how certain versions of a primary color tend to recede “back” into the canvas, while other versions appear to “come out” toward the viewer. He is able to create a definite sense of space and light and depth in his architectural scenes.