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Amanda Williams

In New York City, five must-see exhibitions are dedicated to Amanda Williams, Vivian Browne, Shikeith, Alberta Whittle, Alanis Forde, and Akilah Watts. The artists work in a variety of mediums, most prominently painting.

Chicago-based Amanda Williams states in her biography that her practice "employs color as a way to draw attention to the complexities of race, place and value in cities." An artist who trained as an architect, for her first exhibition at Gagosian gallery, Williams is presenting new paintings from her ongoing series What Black Is This You Say? (2020-). Made in 2022 the abstract paintings are based on a palette of nine colors inspired by the hues of Now and Later and Jolly Rancher candies. The lengthy title of a painting Williams made last year—"What black is this you say?—Although rarely recognized as such, 'The Candy Lady' and her 'Candy Store' provided one of your earliest examples of black enterprise cooperative economics, black women CEOs and good customer service"—black (07.24.20)"—informs the concept of the artist's current show and speaks to the cultural symbolism of her palette. The exhibition is organized by Antwaun Sargent, a director at Gagosian.

"...The paintings celebrate the local "candy lady"—a fixture of Black urban neighborhoods in the midwestern and Southern United States—as a source of strength, tenderness, and joy, and as an overlooked symbol of Black women as economic exemplars and community leaders."

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