Fletcher Williams Creates Evocative Spanish Moss Art

Using Spanish Moss as a paintbrush and picket fences as his subject, Fletcher Williams’ striking artwork is proudly displayed in The Jasper’s art collection. The picket fences exhibit his considered interpretation of the American Dream.   

“A white picket fence has always represented the idea of aspiration, of a dream,” Williams says. “But when I walk around Charleston, I see how it’s designed with gates and fences to keep people in, and to keep people out. I wonder if there’s this curiosity, we have with each other. What’s beyond the fence? Are we scared to get a little too close?” 

His colors are inspired by construction site safety clothing and elements from around Charleston. Williams makes a statement with every piece, using the native Spanish Moss to paint with – to tie his works on paper to the environment.   

He began experimenting with the picket fence as a motif in his work in 2015. His anthropomorphized pickets conjure complex questions around this simple symbol, which historically has represented the prosperity of the American dream. Created by making multiple rubbings from a single fence post on paper to reveal wood grain pattern, and then dry brushing texture onto the image with Spanish Moss, his picket patterns present fictional landscapes and animated figures.   

These works connect the material world with lived experiences, as well as raise questions about boundaries and barriers and what we choose to protect and separate. Colors used in these works often reference nature, local surroundings, and Charleston’s diverse palette of colorful architecture. 

We’re honored to display Williams’ thoughtful art pieces in The Beach Company’s headquarters offices. The large piece of this series, part of Williams’ 2020 exhibition Promiseland, was recently acquired by Gibbes Museum for its permanent collection. He is also a recipient of the 2021 South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowship. Preview more of his work at http://www.fletcher3.com/.