Al McWilliams

Al McWilliams was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1944, where he currently lives and works. He attended the University of BC in Vancouver from 1962-1964, and the Vancouver School of Art from 1964-69. McWilliams came out of the minimalist movement of the sixties, an influence that is evident in his early sculptures and installations as well as his later photo-sculptural works. In these later works, the artist takes photographic images of reliefs found on the facades of Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals in Europe and reappropriates them in contemporary sculptures. Covered in beeswax or glass and set against lead, the materiality of the works heightens the senses of the viewer, suggesting sensuality and touch with skin-like beeswax while simultaneously creating boundaries with cool glass and lead. Placed in a new context, McWilliams' historical images of figures and body parts evoke thoughts of sexuality and gesture and raise questions of gender relations as well as history and memory.