DAM Creative-in-Residence Arthur Williams Pushes the Boundaries of Floral Art

DAM Creative-in-Residence Arthur Williams Pushes the Boundaries of Floral Art

This August, local floral artist Arthur Williams will be bringing Denver Art Museum spaces to life with his unique floral designs as creative-in-residence. Williams' work, which has been celebrated throughout Colorado, is especially notable for its transient, ephemeral quality. Inspired by Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy, Williams emphasizes the beauty of imperfection and impermanence in his creations. Because he works with organic materials, he takes into account both negative space and how opening flowers will change the design, creating pieces of art that unfold harmoniously over time. "I want people to witness and enjoy the process," Williams said. "An important thing about my work is that no one can possess it; it can be documented but never owned."

Williams is perhaps best known for his elaborate floral headdresses, which will make an appearance in Adornment, the first of three performance style pieces that Williams has planned for the DAM. "Adornment will include models with my signature style headdresses running rampant through the museum," Willams said. Adornment will be followed by Adam and Eve, a tranquil still life in the Ponti Overlook area. The final piece will be called Burn and will take place in the Kemper courtyard.

In addition to his three performance style pieces, Williams will be installing one arrangement per week throughout the museum (see below for locations). August 4, 11, 18 and 27 will be his in-office days, when visitors can tag along and see Williams in action. Since he will be working in different spaces, the museum will post Williams’s whereabouts so that visitors can get an up-close look at his work behind-the-scenes. This interactive aspect is an essential element of Williams’s residency: “I really just want to show the public the art of floral design and to be transparent with the process," he said. "It's an art form that has been part of the human experience from the beginning. I want to push the boundaries of what the public believes and has been shown about floral design."

Williams’s work can be seen as part of Arrangements, installations of flower-themed artwork that will be on view throughout the Denver Art Museum this summer as part of the campus-wide celebration of flowers and in conjunction with In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism:

North Building

  • Delight of a Single Bloom, level 7
  • Check Out These Stems!, level 6
  • Focus on the Lotus, level 5

Hamilton Building

  • Fleetingness of Life, level 2

To learn more about Arthur, read this Q&A and watch the video below.

Erin Cousins is a program assistant for studio and artist programs in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. One of her favorite exhibitions that has been on view here is Joan Miró: Instinct & Imagination.