Robert Williams & Jack Aylward-Williams


Professor Robert Williams is an artist and academic, he trained at Lancaster University and at Leeds University where he was a Henry Moore Scholar in Sculpture Studies in 1990. He has been leader of the Fine Art Programmes at Cumbria Institute of the Arts/University of Cumbria since 1998.

Robert’s recent practice includes a number of collaborative projects with the American artist Mark Dion in the USA and UK including The Tasting Garden at Lancaster (1998), The Tate Thames Dig (1999), Theatrum Mundi: Armarium at Jesus College, Cambridge (2001) and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2011), Mark Dion: Collaborations at Hartford CT (2003), Down the Garden Path: Artists Gardens After Modernism at the Queens Museum of Art, New York (2005) and a series of prints made with Dion at Cumbria Institute of the Arts (University of Cumbria) which formed part of the London Underground Art Project associated with Dion’s Microcosmographia at the South London Art Gallery.  Their project  An Ordinall of Alchimy (2010) was commissioned by Cabinet Magazine and collaborated with Fellows from the Mildred’s Lane Project (MLP) in Pennsylvania. Robert most recently worked with Mark on his The Academy of Things (2015) at Dresden in Germany.

Jack Aylward-Williams, the son of Robert Williams and Gina Aylward, was born on Christmas Day 1998. His current interests include horticulture, his allotment, saving planet Earth, Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes.

Robert and Jack’s interdisciplinary practice encompasses sculpture, installation, performance, film-making and writing, it includes explorations of epistemology and systems of knowledge from the hermetic to the scientific. Sources for the work are drawn from subjects as diverse as natural history, archaeology, anthropology, myth and legend.

Robert & Jack’s recent collaborations include the year long Thesaurus Scienta Lancastriae (2004-2005) at Lancaster UK;  the film Procession (2005) for the Blind Pond Film Festival at Narrowsburg NY, USA; and Virga et Lapilla, which engages with archaeology in the exhibition Stones, Circles, Landscape & Art curated by archaeologist Aaron Watson at Penrith Museum, Cumbria UK (2006).

Robert & Jack have recently worked on  projects about The Underworld, Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne and Disjecta Fragmen Communitis (2011) a collection of glass sherds from arund the world which was shown in Trial & Retrieval at the World of Glass Museum on Merseyside, UK. Their most recent work, Systema Naturae (2012-2014) , explores the strange ecosystems of human-mediated species formed by representations of the natural world found as discarded quotidian cultural artefacts.