Dundee Contemporary Arts presents a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Matthew Arthur Williams

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Dundee Contemporary Arts presents a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Matthew Arthur Williams
Installation view.

DUNDEE.- Dundee Contemporary Arts announced the presentation of a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Matthew Arthur Williams, marking his first major solo exhibition in a UK institution.

Williams’ artistic practice is marked by close collaboration with others, and a commitment to creating projects that explore visibility, care, love, family, memory, representation and resistance. His work expands on traditional understandings of portraiture by concentrating on defying erasure; building an archive of subjects and shifting narratives; and by considering what it means to be Black, to be queer, and to inhabit rural environments. 

Soon Come centres around a newly commissioned film and sound installation, presented alongside photographic work which has been developed using conversations, interviews and materials from both public and private histories, records and archives. In this work, Williams draws together representations of disparate places – from Stoke-on-Trent in England to Clarendon in Jamaica – which intimately connect to a far-reaching and complex conception of home.

Many of the production techniques used are deliberately analogue in nature, including black and white photography and 16mm film. These delicate processes bear the marks of the artist’s hand and body more readily than their digital counterparts, which we are all used to consuming at an accelerated rate through screens and monitors in our daily lives. In his work Williams refuses modes of rapid consumption in favour of slow and careful approaches to considered and responsible image making.

The title Soon Come is also a gentle invitation to slow down our thinking in fast-paced environments. In the West Indies, particularly in Jamaica, ‘soon come’ is an elusive sentiment that bypasses a specific idea of time or progress and instead embraces the unknown and ungraspable. For Williams, the meaning behind this phrase hints at both the immediate and the eternal: “It’s multiplicitous. It’s between now and never.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication containing commissioned texts by writer and curator Nydia Swaby and scholar and poet Gabriella Gaye.

Beth Bate, Director of DCA, said We're thrilled to be opening Matthew Arthur Williams's first major show in a UK institution at DCA this December. Themes of visibility, care, love, representation, and resistance will resonate strongly with our audiences, so we can’t wait to welcome them into our galleries to connect with and celebrate Matthew's incredible work.

Matthew Arthur Williams said: Though the green light for this work began with this commission for DCA, the work has existed for at least a decade in my mind.
Soon Come for me feels like a phone call home. Home being many different things to many people; it means many things for me too. In this case, we aren’t sure who is picking up the receiver through the static on the other end. But what we do know is that there is a destined need for the line to stay connected for as long as we need it to.
It's a very tactile show in which I have become a vessel to anchor people and places. It’s also incredibly personal, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions at DCA, said I think Matthew is an extraordinary artist and his is a practice I have watched unfold in many different ways over the five years I have lived in Scotland. He has been making beautiful solo presentations of work alongside intimate collaborative projects in different contexts for some time now, and this feels like exactly the right time to commission a significant new body of work for DCA to mark his first major institutional show in the UK. We have been working on this project together for over a year now, alongside a beautiful new publication with writers Nydia Swaby and Gabriella Gaye, and we’re so excited to share all this new work with our audiences over the winter months.”

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