March 4 through April 10
Opening reception this Friday March 4th, 6-9pm
Lump is proud to host Ariel Williams’s first solo show ever, comprised of baroque portraits of
cakes and people. They veer quickly into dark territory, as each subject in this series is
beautifully and bafflingly infested with ants, fungi, slugs and parasitic abstractions, all
presented with the aim of tackling grave issues like chronic illness and grief. The execution is
exquisite. The subject matter is intoxicating. And the unease that you’ll walk away with, is
matched by awe at Ariel’s fast emerging talent and vision.
Cake is meant to be something beautiful and desirable, but that is not always the case. This
series started out as a way to communicate the abundance of emotions that came with the low
points in my life, that I struggled to process on my own. During the lifespan of the average
human being, we go through ups and downs. Sometimes our downs feel like more than we can
handle, and can be difficult to express in words.
Throughout this Cake Series, I tackle chronic illness, mental health, body issues, and grief using
visual symbolism. The use of fungi, insects, and other creatures helps to create a visual
representation of emotions and physical insecurities. I am deeply inspired by the symbols and
meanings of different parts of nature within various cultures, myths, and religions. The
meanings and symbols help to paint a clear picture as the cakes decay and fill with nature.
The symbols in these paintings display duality, each symbol has positive and negative
attributes and is a common theme that can be found throughout my art. For example,
mushrooms are a sign of death and decay of an underground root system and other organic
matter. Mushrooms can be symbiotic, they can be used as medicines and hold healing powers.
On the other hand, coming in contact with the wrong mushrooms can be your biggest
downfall, they can cause illness, or even take your life.
Each of these narratives helps to tell my story, this duality can be found in other parts of my
paintings. The tunnel systems throughout the series have their own meanings. They are both a
sign of life and a symbol of the ugliness and pain hidden under the surface of sugar and
frosting. Even the cakes have their own duality; they are beautiful, edible, and delicious. Eat
too much and you will make yourself sick. For people with a gluten intolerance like myself, it
can cause you unbearable pain. The duality of all these things put together in the right way
creates a story and a cautionary tale where you can’t judge a book by its cover, until you see
what lies underneath.