The aesthetics of minimalism in the twentieth century have conditioned us perhaps to associate intensity of focus with subtraction of detail. The sculpture of Wayne Williams offers a corrective to this tendency. Williams concentrates our focus through a selective absorption in detail. Each of the sculptural forms presented here usually animals exhibits an essential characteristic, the conveyance of which defines the sculptors success in rendering the object. This characteristic can be conveyed in the cragginess of welded steel or copper, as in the coarse features of the Warthog or the shaggy hump of the Buffalo, or it can be rendered in the smoothness of cast bronze. It can be the precarious balance of the goat, the awkward poise of a gull, or the stately monumentality of a stallion.
What is important here indeed the distinction central to Williams artistry is that the depiction of this defining characteristic never reduces the object to the status of emblem or metaphor. The sculptures speak to us as facts, requiring no interpretation. The realism of depiction aims not so much to impress us with the artists craft as to declare the presence of the thing itself. Whether this thing is a canteen, adopted from Williams Vietnam Memorial in Highland Park and rich in borrowed meaning, or two peppers altogether devoid of meaning, it asks acceptance as an object in our common space. It invites our touch and it must be walked around, not to be understood, but to be seen. And in their straightforward simplicity lies their profundity. They exhibit the essential characteristic of sculpture itself. They contain the meaning implicit in Ad Reinhardts famous quip that "sculpture is something you fall over when you step back to look at a painting."
Wayne Williams is known locally for his life-size bronze piece commissioned by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester which is displayed at the