Born 1970, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney.
Justene Williams’ early work revolved around photography and utilised the ad-hoc nature of disposable cameras and one-hour printing labs. The locations for these early photographic projects were sites of public recreation: shopping centres, car shows and strip clubs. In recent work she has constructed elaborate sets and costumes made from collaged paper and a variety of waste or refuse materials. In these complex and fabulous environments she performs absurd actions in an attempt to reconstruct the essence of lost images (both from her personal archive of photographs and from the annals of art history).
Williams has been exhibiting since the mid-1990s. Recent solo exhibitions include The Curtain Breathed Deeply, Artspace, Sydney and Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2014); Handbag Hammer Meditation, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montréal (2013); Turnstile Heaped on Pour Down, St Paul St Gallery, AUT Auckland University (2012); Hot Air Hillbilly Weekend Workshop, IMA, Surfers Paradise (2011); Berlin Burghers Microwave Monet, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains (2010); Femmzoil, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2009); BIGHEAD GARBAGEFACE GUARDS GHOST DERR SONATA, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2008); Blue, Green, Red Foto, Mori Gallery, Sydney and Kunstlerhaus Passage, Vienna (2005); and Williams & Walter, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains (2002).
Selected group exhibitions include New Acquisitions in Context, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains (2011); NEW 11, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Melbourne (2011); Before and After Science: 2010 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2010); WINDOWS, Mobius, Boston (2009); Antipodes – Video Screenings, AREA 405 Gallery, Baltimore (2008); Girl Parade, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (2007); INPORT Video Art Performance Festival, Tallin Estonia (2006); and Shangri-La Collective, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2004).
Williams’ works are held in numerous collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
A monograph, Justene Williams: The Curtain Breathed Deeply, was published by Artspace, Sydney in 2014.