New / Used / Wet / Broken
November 15 - December 21, 2013
Opening Friday November 15, 6 - 8 pm
How something breaks down is a form of disclosure, offering insight into structures that seemed secure only moments prior. For his first solo exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery, NEW/USED/WET/BROKEN, Brooklyn and Austin-based artist Jeff Williams has developed a series of sculptural actions that focus or expedite natural forces and the more insidious effects of erosion.
Constructed specifically to the gallery’s first floor space, the exhibition engages the relationship between decay and preservation, challenging our assumptions and perceptions of the materials that make up our built environment. Each material is exploited for a specific elemental property: torsion, compression, corrosion. The largest structure in the exhibition, “Column,” consists of two floor joists from a demolished building, pinned vertically between the floor and ceiling. Throughout the course of the show, the 20-foot steel clamp that braces the joists is tightened to sustain the balance between tension and weight.
Quoting the more epicurean effects of aging, a weathered bust from a 19th-century marble sculpture spins atop a metal pole, similar to a museum display. A video projected in the background shows a ceramic pot made by the artist’s father, rotating at the same speed as the marble head, as if the two were calibrated to a distinct clock. While not able to reverse the process, conservation and documentation prop the precious or compromised back into an abstraction outside of physical degeneration. As a whole, the installation changes in various ways over the course of the exhibition, encouraging a sensory experience of these intersecting intervals of time.
Jeff Williams was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. He studied at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and received his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design (1998) and his MFA from Syracuse University (2002). Williams lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX, where he is an assistant professor of sculpture at The University of Texas. Williams was an artist-in-residence at the Core Program from 2006-2008 and the Leonore Annenberg Fellow at the American Academy in Rome from 2008-2009. Recent solo exhibitions include Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2011); Recess, New York, NY (2011); and Project Row Houses, Houston, TX (2008). Recent group exhibitions include Jack Hanley, Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, and Canada, in New York, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Blaffer Museum, Houston, TX.