Award-winning, Chicago-based architect and artist Amanda Wiliams explores theoretical definitions of race,color, economic viability and community in flux to map across veiled language used in American media/popular culture to describe racially charged city spaces. What color is urban? What color is Gentrification? What color is privilege? What color is poverty? Her public works encourage the community to come together to meditate on what they’ve lost as the first step in reclaiming and revitalizing their neighborhoods. Williams is interested in combining her two art forms so they become catalysts for making communities thrive. Think a female Gordon Matta-Clark parading around as a Black Josef Albers! Colors are extracted from buildings and products that are frequent urban fixtures—Currency Exchange, Flamin’ Red Hots, Ultrasheen Grease. This palette combines Williams’ Ivy League academic training as an architect with her lived sensibility as a South Side native. She works on a system that imagines artful ways to construct new narratives about zero value landscapes that will allow them to shed an identity of victim and embrace instead the role of active protagonist.
In addition to a busy visual arts career, which includes traditional paintings and papercut maps as well as public art, Williams also teaches architecture at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, is a sought-after lecturer, and has participated widely in individual and group shows, including an entry in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Recently Williams was awarded the Pulitzer Arts Foundation PXSTL Design-Build Award in St. Louis to be unveiled in May 2017; The Arts Club of Chicago has awarded her an installation in their Garden Projects Series for next June; and in July, 2017 she will open a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in the BMO Harris Chicago Works Series.