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A film photograph image with a black background shows interlinked hands and arms, holding each other, as if knotted together. The image is slightly blurred.

Matthew Arthur Williams

Soon Come

10 December - 26 March 2023

This exhibition debuted a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Matthew Arthur Williams, marking his first major solo exhibition in a UK institution. 

Throughout his career Williams’ work has developed through close collaboration with others, creating projects that explore visibility, care, love, family, memory, representation and resistance. His work expands on traditional understandings of portraiture by concentrating on defying erasure, building an archive of subjects and shifting narratives considering what it means to be Black, to be queer, and to inhabit rural environments. 

Artist Interview: Matthew Arthur Williams

This exhibition spanning both galleries at DCA centred around a newly commissioned film and sound installation alongside photographic work, developed using conversations, interviews and materials from both public and private histories, records and archives. In this work, Williams draws together a number of disparate places – particularly Stoke-on-Trent in England and Clarendon in Jamaica – which intimately connect to a far-reaching and complex conception of home for the artist.  

Many of the production techniques used within this project are deliberately analogue in nature, including black and white photography and 16mm film. These delicate processes bear the marks of the artist’s hand and body more readily than their digital counterparts, which we are all used to consuming at an accelerated rate through screens and monitors in our daily lives. In his work Williams refuses modes of rapid consumption in favour of slow and careful approaches to considered and responsible image making. 

The title Soon Come is also a gentle invitation to slow down our thinking in fast-paced environments. In the West Indies, particularly in Jamaica, ‘soon come’ is an elusive sentiment that bypasses a specific idea of time or progress and instead embraces the unknown and ungraspable. For Williams, the meaning behind this phrase hints at both the immediate and the eternal: “It’s multiplicitous. It’s between now and never.” 

A new book published as part of this project contains newly commissioned texts by writer and curator Nydia Swaby and scholar and poet Gabriella Gay. 

About the artist

Matthew Arthur Williams is a visual and sound artist, photographer and DJ. Williams was born in London and now lives and works in Glasgow. He completed his BA at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2012. 

His work has recently been exhibited at Jupiter Artland and Johnson Terrace Gardens as part of a commission for Edinburgh Art Festival (2021). He has further developed exhibition projects and commissions with the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow (2022), Viborg Kunsthal (2021), Street Level Photoworks (2019) and Transmission Gallery (2017). 

Recent close collaborations include ongoing work with Ajamu and Alberta Whittle, and Williams’ research has recently been supported through programmes at CCA Glasgow, The Bothy Project, Hospitalfield and LUX Scotland. 

With thanks to the William S Phillips fund for their support of this exhibition.

Exhibition Notes

 Listen to an audio version of the Exhibition Notes for Matthew Arthur Williams: Soon Come here.

Click here to download the Exhibition Notes for Matthew Arthur Williams: Soon Come
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Exhibition Images

Installation view of Gallery 1 showing a green wall with a dark photograph to the right hand side, and in the left mid ground a low display case containing photographs.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Photograph by Ruth Clark