William Noland

sculptor, photographer, filmmaker

North Carolina, US






My overarching concern as an artist is to be actively present in the making. I engage with perceptual and material reality with a sense of improvisation and flux, regardless of the medium. The individual pieces have evolved, bearing traces of the processes and revisions that have gone into their creation: decisions and reactions to decisions, as well as improvisation found in the moment, all integrated into the fabric of a work.  


My work in sculpture has been made in conversation with the built world. The pieces explore the overlap between sculpture, architecture and functional objects, conjuring and asserting human scale through abstraction.


In photography, I’ve looked for a heightened and expanded sense of what “documentary” can convey, both through carefully observed, predominantly un-posed human subjects as well as the lived-in world, mined for traces of the human presence.


In my video work, I gather moving images, voices and sound from the real world, using episodic fragments as raw material with which to construct allusive, time-based pieces.


I’m an Emeritus Professor of Visual Art at Duke University, where for 30 years I taught sculpture, photography and filmmaking. During that time I was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship in Sculpture, a Fulbright Scholar Award in Photography, and Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Grants for both photography and video. I worked for DoubleTake magazine from 1995 to 2004, first as an editorial advisor in photography and subsequently as a contributing photographer. I was also a frequent participant in the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, attending eleven seminars between 1999 and 2015.



Apparatus Synapse