Pandra Williams is an artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art, and an MFA from Georgia State University. In addition, she has studied art, sculpture and ceramics at various art institutions, including the New School of Social Research, Kansas City Art Institute, New York School of Visual Arts, and a study of firing techniques with Paul Soldner. Her broad educational and work experience lends her a facility with blending the traditional materials of ceramic, paper, and wood with non-traditional materials and techniques for paintings, assembling sculptural objects, and installations.
Williams explains how her environmental activism influences her creative process. “The destruction of woodlands and other wild places, and the loss of habitat for the myriad life forms they support, often hits me as an emotional/physical blow. One result is my environmental activism. My mother was an environmental activist, and I have been an environmental activist since I was very young. It is no surprise that activism should blend into my artistic activities. Actually, if the art I create is to maintain its relevance to my life, the two must conjoin somewhere. ”
When not in the studio, Williams works with the Southeastern Climber’s Coalition (SCC) to acquire or purchase acreage of the Boat Rock Ridgeline in Southwest Fulton County, GA. Her research into the vital needs of rescued native plants and shrubs led to artistic inquiry concerning the nature of microbiotic relationships occurring in forest soil. Symbiotic, parasitic and predatory biota inspire forms and painted fields that enfold, eject from or digest each other.
Williams recently exhibited Incognae v2, a large-scale ceramic installation of 16 fungiforms in the 2005 Art in Freedom Park exhibition. Her research into the underground ecosystem heavily influenced the sculptures that were positioned among the plants she reintroduced to their native habitat, the Piedmont region of Atlanta.
“My installations present a direct dialogue between the two activities. My environmental research and activism informs my artwork which, in turn, my artwork promotes the concerns of my activism. It is important to put my work on public display and for it to have a strong effect upon the viewing public. Installations create a dimensional, visceral experience for the viewer – one that engages and stimulates their senses, as well as their movements through space. In creating installations like Incognae v2 I want viewers to be puzzled, to entertain ideas perhaps neither familiar nor comfortable concerning the subject matter set in front of them. I want to encourage and nurture wonder and empathy by creating a new consideration of the natural world.”
Williams has exhibited at Spruill Gallery, Dunwoody, GA, Soapstone Gallery, Decatur, GA, City Gallery at Chastain Art Center, Atlanta, GA, Gallery at City Hall East, Atlanta, GA, Woodruff Art Center, Atlanta, GA, ACA Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Georgia State University Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Center for the Arts in Rock Hill, SC., Eyedrum Artspace, Atlanta, GA, Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, GA, Kennesaw University Campus, Kennesaw, GA, Swan Coach House, Atlanta, GA, and Freedom Park, Atlanta, GA.