William A. Newman

William A. Newman
Newman has been an advocate of disability culture for many years. In the early 70s he was part of the pop-figuration renaissance, well known for his startling, large-scale photorealist imagery. Some years ago he developed multiple sclerosis, which has informed his work and impelled his activism.
The First Nest
Oil on Wood, 13” x 30”
2005
The First NestClick to Zoom
BIO
William A. Newman (b. 1948, Great Lakes, IL) is a professor at the Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington, D.C. He received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA from the University of Maryland. He is represented by Adamson Gallery in Washington, D.C. Recent shows include a retrospective, “Peripheral Vision,” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; “The Nest” at Adamson Gallery; and “Humans Being” at the Chicago Cultural Center. Other projects include a large NASA space mural in 2002. Newman is on the advisory council at Transformer Gallery and is a standing juror for VSA National Art Competition. Newman and David Adamson co-founded the Digital Arts Department of the Corcoran College of Art & Design in 1984.

THE ART
Newman has been an advocate of disability culture for many years. In the early 70s he was part of the pop-figuration renaissance, well known for his startling, large-scale photorealist imagery. Some years ago he developed multiple sclerosis, which has informed his work and impelled his activism. Transformation and mutation are recurrent themes that can be traced to the daily fluctuations of MS. Disability has also deepened his mastery of patient perception.

“The First Nest” was created after Newman installed a ship’s portal in his shower, in his rural Silver Springs home. Newman takes a long time to shower, and wanted something to look at while bathing. Birds eventually found this portal and built a nest in its shelter. Newman videotaped the life cycle of the nest: construction, the laying of eggs, the emergence of chicks, and their growth till the last chick flew away. The project took nearly a year. Newman edited the tapes to create a short documentary of these birds’ lives, then selected ten frames to serve as the reference for a series of nest paintings that trace the story. “First Nest” is the beginning of the series. Its luminous, underwater colors make the nest itself a mysterious, living thing.