Joseph McWilliams

Belfast painter, gallery owner and art critic

Joseph McWilliams was born in Belfast in 1938. Educated at St Malachy’s College, he then enrolled at the Belfast College of Art and Design between 1958 and 1964. He co-founded  the Troubled Image Group in 1973, taught for the Ulster College and the Open University, and was a participant in the Northern Ireland Workshop at the Kassel Documenta 6 show in 1977.

McWilliams is a representational painter who nevertheless explores collage and mixed media in his richly textured surfaces. At Documenta 6 he showed his 'Community Door', a firebomb-damaged door from a local community centre, modified by the artist’s paintwork. His arts journalism regularly defends 'traditional' visual arts practices.

With his wife and fellow artist Catherine McWilliams, he runs the Cavehill Gallery at their home in north Belfast.

Further Reading:
Stepping Stones: The Arts in Ulster 1971-2001 (2001) by Mark Carruthers and Stephen Douds; Art in Ulster 2: 1957-1977 (1977) by Mark Catto.