Rick Williams: A Man of Grace and Power

The JSMA mourns the passing of Rick Williams, an educator and artist, whose photographs reflect his great empathy and insight into the human experience. Rick, who died on August 3, was a dear friend of mine and loved and admired by so many, near and far. We hold in warm embrace Julianne Newton, his wife, and his family.

One of Rick’s iconic photographs -- Kate’s 4th of July Dream, Holy Cross Brothers’ Lake House, Austin, Texas, 1979 – is currently on view in our Decade of Collecting exhibition (through September 2), and is part of an acquisition of ten photographs, recently on view in the Lane Community College Art Gallery exhibition Emergence: An Arts Journey with Rick Williams”(February 13 – March 9, 2017). We are honored to have a small legacy of his work in our collection.

Rick was a member of the JSMA Leadership Council for six years and active on its Long-range Planning and Collections Committees, serving most recently on the photography development subcommittee.  Rick retired as Dean of the Division of the Arts at Lane Community College in 2016. 

For the Lane Community College exhibition, Rick shared: “My photographic work generally falls into two categories, both embracing paradoxes of everyday life. One body of work reflects spontaneity. … These images are as much an expression of my inner self as they are of the people and objects I photograph. This balance of grace and power enriches and informs all of my work. The other photographs in this exhibition are a more intentional ethnographic, documentary body of work. ... the images also reveal the ways people interact with facets of grace and power as they struggle to balance the paradoxical realities of ranches, oil rigs and technology clean rooms sharing Texas land, spaces and resources.”

Rick, himself, was a man of grace and power.  He was warm, perceptive and generous in his friendships and academic work and powerful in his presence and artistic vision. 

The family is planned memorial events in both Eugene and Austin. We will share that information with you.

Jill Hartz, Executive Director