Cordelia Williams is a photographer/artist and arts educator living in Charlotte, NC. Her work has been exhibited in national and international, solo and invitational exhibitions. It can be seen in public collections of: The Corcoran Museum/College Working Library, Washington, DC; Mint Museum of Charlotte; Murray Atkins Library, Rare Books Collection at UNC Charlotte; Bank of America; Mohawk Paper Company, Ithaca, New York; and Tucson Center for Creative Photography.

She is on the teaching staff of The Light Factory, Charlotte, NC (since 1981) and has taught Film and Darkroom at Queens University of Charlotte from 1988 to 2016.       

Notes on the Work

Current and Continuing Work
“Sometimes I Dream” 2016 -- A stream of consciousness story of one woman’s life within the cycle of life. Photography, drawing, woodcut, painting, and photographic dolls.

“Millefleurs and Photograms” -- Archival digital prints from gelatin silver photograms.

“Stars/Infinity” -- Mirrors, stars, sea. Archival digital prints.

“Portraits and Vignettes” -- Artist’s favorites of people and places. Various photographic media.
Books and Photographic Dolls
"The Extraordinary Adventure of Camilla and the Fairy Cat" 1992, is a feminist fairy tale of words and pictures with a hero, villain, quest and resolution. The photographs were made sequentially over the course of twelve years. They are a poetic document of the artist's daughter growing up and a celebration of the mother-daughter relationship. The black and white photographs (gelatin silver prints) were then painted, creating a layer of interpretation and time.

"Maids of the Sea" 2001, is a mermaid tale about the beauty of teenage girls, as portrayed by the artist's daughter Caitlin and her friends. The images are reproduced from 11"x14" painted gelatin silver prints.

"Memoirs of A Single Mother: The Teenage Party Years" 2005. The book takes the form of a blue velvet jewelry box, draped in a shawl, reminiscent of a house, a home, holding memories and secrets. 

The box opens to a tableau of self-portrait dolls representing three faces of motherhood -- worried mother, lonely single mother, and strong artist mother. Underneath the mother dolls are two accordion strips of images (reproduced from 11"x14” painted photographs) which open from each side in symmetry.

The left section is a teenage boys party, the artist's son’s party, and the right is a teenage girls party, her daughter's party.

There are two drawers. The first drawer contains a photo tile of the mother doing dishes and her Housework Manifesto. The second drawer contains essays by Belle Gironda, Lee Howard, and the artist’s two children, Roscoe Fox and Caitlin Williams.
About the photographic dolls who appear in the three books and elsewhere, Cordelia says they began, “When the people in my photographs began to slip off their surfaces back into three dimensions as transformed and magical entities."
These three books and the dolls represent over 15 years of work on the theme of raising children as a single mother, a perspective not often seen in photographic art.