Neil Williams was one of the artists Lawrence Alloway included in his Systemic Painting exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 1966. While at that time very well known as an exemplary character, Williams traversed some difficult ground in the New York art world of the ’70s. He eventually found himself elsewhere, out on Long Island, with plans to move even farther afield. Williams died in 1988, much too young, his ambition for residency in Brazil unfulfilled. Subsequently, the impact of his work languished.
While goal-directed in its execution, Williams allowed for objective modifications within the rigorous approach of his work. This differentiated it from that of his cohort. Stochastic properties of repetition and randomness were internalized within the focused whole of organizational principles at hand. In his exactitude, Williams looked past the mere formalism of the framing edge to focus attention upon that which regulated any system at composite levels. In hardcore cybernetic terms, this implicates the presence of a suprasystem, or that which today might be recognized as a type of artificial intelligence. It’s in this respect that the work of Neil Williams remains contemporary, vital, and visionary.