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Edge Gallery

2017 03 Edge Invitation

Owen Williams

Towards A Standard

Artist Statement 

On September 9th 2013 I woke up in the Whitehorse General Hospital with a concussion. As I was in the process of packing to live in Vancouver for 18 months, I kept going and jumped on my Air North flight the next day.

In Vancouver I realized that my concussion was more serious than I had thought: I noticed that the multiple aesthetic feelings I respond to the world with were absent, and the rich varied internal monologues which comment on those feelings were gone. My capacity to visualize, to think three dimensionally, my minds eye had disappeared. Testing myself I noticed that my capacity to make fine visual distinctions remained. However, it was a mechanical response, the sense of tension and delight I had formally felt did not exist. Artistically this felt like a disaster.I put my contemporary practice on hold, and began to reinvestigate the classical tradition. The advantage of this approach is that it depends upon an understanding of convention, and an appreciation of nuance. These are intellectual elements that can be learnt by any interested person with enough time and effort. They can be measured, quantified, and - in theory - are not dependent upon a subjective judgement.The letterforms in this show represent a summary of this investigation. The letters are derived from a humanist letter that reached maturity in Venice around 1500 under the printer Aldus Manutius and the punch cutter Francesco Griffo. These letterforms have been continuously used, revived, refined, developed, and reinterpreted for the past 500 years. Forms like these have haunted me since my adolescence, and initially motivated me to take up lettering as a profession. 

Artist Bio

Owen Williams · Artist · Born England 1973 · Lives and works in northern Canada ·
Practices a contemporary calligraphy · 

Owen Williams is a calligrapher and educator. Born in England, he grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon. An early interest in calligraphy and lettering led him to train in England: first as a stone letter carver in 1992 with the respected craftsman David Kindersley at his workshop in Cambridge, then from 1993 as a calligrapher at the Roehampton Institute in London where he graduated in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Calligraphy. In 2000 he studied typeface design at Reading University’s Department of Typography & Visual Communication. From 2001 to 2003 he lived in Kyoto, Japan, where he studied contemporary expressions of Japanese calligraphy and traditional wood block print techniques. Returning to Canada in 2004, he opened a studio in Whitehorse, Yukon, where he developed his interest in calligraphy as a contemporary practice.

Exhibition on until April 1, 2017. 

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