Bernard Williams: The Ornamental System of Louis Sullivan

Chicago-based artist Bernard Williams exhibited a new series of dynamic sculptures and drawings intertwining familiar architectural icons with raw urban forms at Hyde Park Art Center. Inspired by the local landmarks of renowned architect Louis Sullivan, Williams restructured the signature lines and shapes from the facades of Sullivan’s buildings to create free-standing objects addressing cultural identity through decorative symbols.

Building on his previous work that incorporated ethnic iconography to question origins of race and heritage, Williams’ new work used architectural ornamentation as an additional form of cultural symbol. An updated version of Louis Sullivan’s mantra “form follows function,” Williams insists, “form functions as structure.” He activated these sculptures with forms mined from the cityscape provoking the viewer to recontextualize the socially inscribed decorative features that surround urban dwellers everyday.

  • August 28, 2005 – October 6, 2005
  • The Del Prado


Williams CatalogueFINAL edit (dragged)

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About Bernard Williams

Bernard Williams received an MFA from Northwestern University and a BFA from The University of Illinois – Champaign. In addition to being a member of the Chicago Public Art Group for many years, Williams creates graphic large-scale installations and public mural work that continue to investigate American and world cultural history. His work has been exhibited at I Space (Chicago), the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Evanston Art Center, and the African-American Museum in Dallas.

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