The Brilliance of Resilience

Denise Williams & Punam Singh

6 - 12 July, 2022

J/M Gallery proudly presents: “The Brilliance of Resilience” - a joint exhibition featuring two female artists, exploring themes of human resilience and fortitude through lived experience.

Denise Williams and Punam Singh bring together a collection of abstract paintings, ceramics and works on glass. The two come to share a commonality on resilience, through deeply challenging and transformative times encountered in their lives. The exhibition is a celebration and showcase of the resilience experienced by the two, with a range of compelling and abstract paintings and sculpture set to take over the J/M Gallery on Portobello Road.

Imagine sculpted African figures against a backdrop of intricate material and joyous colour. Or the meddling of light between coloured glass panels, providing a new tinted perspective on the detail within Singh’s paintings. Master’s techniques become repurposed and transformed into the modern-day through Denise Williams’ ceramics. A prominence is realised for tribal Kings and Queen’s who fail to be placed alongside the white marbe busts in the National Portrait Gallery. The two artists are determined to create the world which exists for them, for others.

Denise Williams is a British Afro-Caribbean mixed media artist, holding over 20 years of artistic history in sculpture, ceramic, and glass. Denise’s work aims to fill a gap in the British Arts environment, bringing symbolics and relics of Caribbean-Island culture in to the UK – allowing her to vocalise the experiences which have shaped her life. Denise Williams’ ‘Afro Kinky’ piece involves an interchangeable, interactive sculpture which holds moveable exaggerated blown glass strands depicting afro-hair.
The piece nods at the fascination often encountered by people who aren’t black, who feel inclined to touch and play with afro hair. The sculpture takes that often-awkward encounter and turns it into an unashamed experience, taking the focus from the human subject and into the playful glass pieces. As well as ‘Afro Kinky’, Denise will be showcasing her latest range of sculpted African heads and torsos, which can be seen as an Afro-Caribbean response to classical marble busts/head sculptures. The sculptures allow for Kings and Empresses (and their families) to receive the stature and framing that other Kings and Queens in western countries were depicted within. This blending of her British and Afro-Caribbean experience allows a familiar, yet unfamiliar perspective on the techniques of British sculpture. Denise has recently exhibited at the Zari Gallery in Mayfair, as well as the nationally touring ‘Some of Us Are Brave’ show (Oxford, Stratford & London), The Untitled Art Fair in Chelsea, amongst many other group exhibitions and fairs.

Punam Singh is a London-based abstract expressionist and intuitive painter who confides in the earthly properties of natural materials to showcase her practice. Brought up on a remote tea plantation in Assam, her jungle upbringing surrounded by the Himalayas provide the foundation for her work. Heavily influenced by her experiences and long-term relationship with nature, Punam seeks to provide a tranquil portal into her childhood and travelled experiences.

Using concrete as a base layer, she seeks to highlight the resilience of the human and nature’s spirit, before unleashing swarms of colour, patterns and ranging styles – from bold to small strokes, captivatingly producing the 3D works which stand in the exhibition. The cycles of nature - of decay and regeneration were experienced very closely by the artist, and are therefore embedded in her practice. “Our patterns and that of nature are very similar. We begin our lives folded and slowly begin to open.” The abstraction in her work comes from emotions and memories of the wilderness experienced throughout her life and travels. Punam works from memory, there is never an end result in mind.

Before becoming a full-time painter, Punam worked for some of the world’s largest leading advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi in Bombay. In November last year she presented a solo exhibition titled, ‘The Way Through The Forest’, followed by a group showing at Ham House Hotel in December. Her work is held in private collections across America, India and UK. In memory of her son Jai, Punam will be donating a portion of the proceeds towards the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Witness an aesthetic feast of sculpture and 3D paintings, showcasing resilience and human fortitude in its purest form.

The exhibition runs from the 6th until the 12th of July at the J/M Gallery, 230 Portobello Road. The private view is on 7th July 7-9pm.