Student Profile: Chase Williamson
Chase Williamson is an MFA candidate in Painting + Drawing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Chase (2000) centers the interconnection of Blackness, womanhood, and marginalized identity through her painted compositions. Born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, her southern living experience is a major propeller for her work. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Art degree from University of Tennessee, Chattanooga in 2022, where she studied Studio Art and Psychology. Chase is fiercely passionate about creating mirrored representation; during undergrad, she painted the cover and interior artwork for the children’s book, “Creative God, Colorful Us”.
Following her undergraduate degree, Chase completed a Curatorial Fellowship at the Frist Art Museum, a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Orlando, FL, and has had work exhibited in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.
I share imagery of the Black body by using nature-filled landscapes, open facial expression, and story in ways that trigger wonder and serenity. My paintings use cast prejudices to re-imagine possibilities, create new interpretations, and ask more questions in effort to give viewers a window to the intricate expansiveness that lives in people of color. From our hair to our attitude, much needs to be re-examined – my goal is to create new points of entry that allow Black women to be whatever they desire to be.
My early ideals of racial consciousness led me to investigate the way our identities have been imagined and shaped by societal interpretations of beauty and power. In my work, I enunciate on the intersectionality of race, gender, and class to emphasize the non-monolithic Black experience. The focus of my research interrogates “official” history and Black representation, what is overlooked and why, and the biases held by those writing, visualizing, and interpreting it. The history of our nation is permeated with societal norms that equate Blackness and the connected physical and cultural traits to a badge of inferiority, and I paint intentionally to enter this discourse. Comfortable stability is the enemy of growth, and my aim is to present a fresh perception surrounding the presentation of the Black body.