Ariel Williams

Ariel Williams is an oil painter and art educator, her passion for art runs deep. Since childhood, she always had a love for art. Her art focuses on her roots and confronting her greatest insecurities. Many of her works are a visual account of her experiences battling chronic illness, emotional well-being, and body issues. Each piece she creates becomes a self-portrait exposing what is hidden underneath. Ariel is an artist from central New Jersey, who has shown her pieces around the tristate area. She is looking to continue to grow and share her work with the world around her.

Signs of Life

Cake is meant to be something beautiful and desirable, but that is not always the case. This series started out as a way to communicate the abundance of emotions that came with the low points in my life, that I struggled to process on my own. During the lifespan of the average human being, we go through ups and downs. Sometimes our downs feel like more than we can handle, and can be difficult to express in words.

Throughout this Cake Series, I tackle chronic illness, mental health, body issues, and grief using visual symbolism. The use of fungi, insects, and other creatures helps to create a visual representation of emotions and physical insecurities. I am deeply inspired by the symbols and meanings of different parts of nature within various cultures, myths, and religions. The meanings and symbols help to paint a clear picture as the cakes decay and fill with nature.

The symbols in these paintings display duality, each symbol has positive and negative attributes and is a common theme that can be found throughout my art. For example, mushrooms are a sign of death and decay of an underground root system and other organic matter. Mushrooms can be symbiotic, they can be used as medicines and hold healing powers. On the other hand, coming in contact with the wrong mushrooms can be your biggest downfall, they can cause illness, or even take your life.

Each of these narratives helps to tell my story, this duality can be found in other parts of my paintings. The tunnel systems throughout the series have their own meanings. They are both a sign of life and a symbol of the ugliness and pain hidden under the surface of sugar and frosting. Even the cakes have their own duality; they are beautiful, edible, and delicious. Eat too much and you will make yourself sick. For people with gluten intolerance like myself, it can cause you unbearable pain. The duality of all these things put together in the right way creates a story and a cautionary tale where you can’t judge a book by its cover until you see what lies underneath.

To view more of Ariel Williams’s work please visit their website.