The Charlie James Gallery Downtown Los Angeles Presents William Powhida


October 24 – December 5, 2015
Artist’s Reception October 24th from 6-9

From the Artist’s Desk October 13th, 2015:

Nearly a decade ago I authored an artistic persona in the form of William Powhida to critique and satirize the seemingly incompatible class relations in the art world. While my early works were framed in drawings and paintings that borrowed forms from traditional print media, I later began to blur the boundary between my public and private ‘character’ through social media, particularly Twitter. The Twitter platform was perfectly suited to short quips, prescriptive statements, and immediate judgments about the economy, politics, and of course, art. By using the platform for shit-talking, antagonizing other art world figures, and generally embodying the character ‘William Powhida’, any critical distance between life and work slowly eroded into a kind of generic oppositional and contrarian voice.

The character ‘William Powhida’ on Twitter was not so different from the artist William Powhida as critical troll.

This convergence of my personal views and that of my fictional character have also mirrored the unsettling alignment of my critique of the art world and the trajectory of my art career. Despite the critical attitudes in the work, my reliance on sales and expectations for traditional forms of artistic success have diminished the very possibility of legitimate critique.

My new body of work for Charlie James is centered around a conversation both visual and textual between myself, ‘William Powhida’ (my bad idea), aesthetics (other people’s bad ideas), and the prevalence of the object in a post-internet (tech’s bad ideas), socially mediated / market oriented art world (Capitalism’s bad ideas). This ambivalent discourse is composed through a series of paintings that draw text fragments from my Twitter archive between 2009 and the present as well as a series of self-reflective You/I statements on paper.

William Powhida (b. 1976, New York) lives and works in New York. He studied painting at Syracuse University and earned an M.F.A. from the Hunter College program. He has exhibited internationally in New York, Los Angles, Seattle, London, Madrid, Miami, Chicago, Copenhagen, Austria, Dublin, and the Canary Islands. Recent shows include Unretrospective at Platform Gallery, Overculture at Postmasters Gallery, and Bill by Bill at Charlie James Gallery. His work has been discussed in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Art News, Artinfo, Artnet, Hyperallergic, Art F City among others. He has enjoyed and endured residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and Casa Maauad in Mexico City. William Powhida will have his first solo museum show in the Fall of 2016 at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT.

Image provided by Charlie James Gallery