New York

William T. Williams

Reese Palley Gallery

William T. Williams’ new paintings at Reese Palley are filled with such wild, angry energy, they look like Frank Stella nightmares. Williams is trying to get away from the strong, superficial resemblances his imagery and technique have to Stella’s, but the white-bordered, intensely colored, mechanical-drawing shapes still appear to be takeoffs on Stella. Now, pearlized paint, Looney Tunes color, serpentine squiggles, tooth-like small triangles, all work to change the look of the paintings.

There is most action in the largest, latest painting in the show, a group of eight panels, four of them seven feet by seven feet, and four of them seven feet by five feet, pushed against each other like a huge comic strip. The spirals and concentric circles he uses in this work pull themselves together more emphatically than the triangular or diamond shapes he has used before. Like contained explosions ready to fly apart, they almost succeed in holding on to all the curved and jagged pieces of forms Williams packs into the canvases. But this work, and the others in the show, does fall apart finally. It jumbles up in the memory’s eye and all the decorative urge in the world can’t tame its organizational frenzy.

Kasha Linville