Warm Water is a collection of re-narrated visual works based on the event that sparked the Chicago Race Riot of 1919.

On view June 8 to August 11

These works unfold the story involving five Black teens, and what reportedly caused the death of Eugene Williams in Lake Michigan on the South Side of Chicago. With noted recollections and events reported, the work documents and sheds light on the marginalizing oppositions the teens faced during the fragile height of racial sociopolitical conditions nationwide. This day, July 27, 1919, became the tipping point, and as a result, led to a string of violent race riots across the United States.

Warm Water references the psychological racial constructs and the human state of the five teens during the event, as well as the paralleled combination of chemical/water properties when hot and cold elements are combined. It is also the unsolicited landmark of the lake where the teens nicknamed the spot, "Hot and Cold."With these two diverse complexities, re-appropriated and re-narrated visual explorations attempt to strike a balance between both past and present, from an incident later marked in history as Red Summer.

About the Artist

Charles Edward Williams is a contemporary visual artist from Georgetown, SC, and holds a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA and an MFA at the University of North Carolina (UNCG) in Greensboro, NC. Creating compelling imagery in oils, video/film, and sound installations, Williams's work investigates current, historical cultural events related to racism, and to suggestive stereotypes formed within individuals. His works define self–representation of human emotive responses that lie within cultural identity, and reveal tension to expose the complexities within our sociopolitical environments. Through his visions, we are encouraged to engage in self-examination, to question false boundaries that separate us, and view the inner connectedness of our common existence.

Williams has attended summer artist residencies at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA), SOMA (Mexico City, Mexico), the Gibbes Museum (Charleston, SC), and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation (Charlotte, NC). Solo exhibitions include "Warm Water: New Works by Charles Williams" at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, "Here we Stand: Charles Edward Williams" at the Ellen Noel Art Museum, "Swim: An Artist's Journey" at the Myrtle Beach Museum (Myrtle Beach, SC), "SUN + LIGHT" at Residency Art gallery (Inglewood, LA), "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" (Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC), and "Swim" at Morton Fine Art (Washington, DC). His work was also recently exhibited at Aqua and Scope Art Fair / Art Basel (Miami, FL). Group exhibitions include the Weatherspoon Museum (Greensboro, NC), the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN), Tiger Strike Asteroid project space (Philadelphia, PA) and other national institutions.

Works have been reviewed in local and national publications and media, which include the Washington Post, NPR, and South Carolina's ETV network (PBS affiliate). Permanent collections include the North Carolina Museum of Art (NC), the Gibbes Museum (SC), Knoxville Museum of Art (TN), and the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art (NJ). Williams also received the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Award from the State of South Carolina for the development of enriching art programs within local communities.