Sunday, May 19, 2013

NEW YORK: Lorna Williams

Lorna Williams, threefold, 2013, mixed media, 55 x 22 x 104 inches, detail. Image via

appositions: still / birth / shit
May 18 – June 29, 2013

Lorna Williams in conversation with Rich Blint, Saturday, June 22, 4pm

15 Rivington Street
New York, NY

DODGEgallery is pleased to present appositions: still / birth / shit, Lorna Williams’ second solo exhibition with the gallery. 

Williams’ anthropomorphic sculptures are meticulous amalgams of unlikely and often provocative material juxtapositions. In appositions: still / birth / shit, Williams continues to use the body as her primary subject while focusing on the specific and essential processes of birthing and digesting. Plastic teeth, locked hair, root systems, pipes, stones, thorns and snakeskin, are some of the artist’s materials, assembled to form the ecosystem of each piece and a collective narrative throughout the body of work. 

In held, djet, fabricated from the carcass of a taxidermied reptile, Williams compresses metaphors of life, death and re-animation into the form of a digestive track. The piece bears an intimate acceptance of life cycles, as the snake was once the artist’s pet living, dying and then re-born. Revealing what is literally hidden beneath the surface, Williams’ unflinchingly embraces bodily function. The serpentine creature is known for its own unique digestive processes; an ideal material for the twisting, turning intestines. held, djet alludes to human movement through life—gathering, breaking apart, taking what is essential and discarding the waste. 

A large assembled rooster, ro-mer-ee’s plumage, stands perched atop a pedestal in the gallery. Made from bike parts, violins, chains, rooster feet, pen tips and razor blades, ro-mer-ee’s plumage greets the viewer at eye level. Created in response to the work of Romare Bearden, an artist whose process inspires Williams, the piece is an assemblage of striking materials that call attention and shift focus from different vantage points. Williams writes, 

Like Bearden, who allows his viewers to experience the creative process of transformation in his work through his shifting sense of scale, his layered images and his considered timing within his compositions, I want viewers to see my hand in the assemblage of these materials and to consider the anatomy and processes of play and experimentation involved in drawing with various objects. 

Created for The Harlem Studio Museum’s Bearden Project, and here exhibited in the context of the artist’s work, ro-mer-ee’s plumage shows Williams’ interest in what lies beneath the surface, allowing the insides to play an equal role to the decorative “plumage”. 

Williams’ collaged sculptures serve as a means to express specific, and at times, personal narratives alongside those of the collective human condition. Focusing on the processes of digestion and birthing, she offers the matter-of-fact reality of each as a means to express their symbiotic relationship. While birthing creates and builds life, digestion consumes, breaks down and extracts; yet ultimately they find similarity in the simple event of expelling. Williams’ artistic process itself is grounded in both mechanisms as she accumulates, fuses, extracts, creates, and releases. 

In addition to the works on view by Williams, is the 2013 video roots.|&|rigor. Written, directed and edited by filmmaker/artist tiona.m., the video depicts Williams in the creative process, peeling back the layers between the finished object and the maker. 

Lorna Williams was born in 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2010. She studied at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia. In 2009, she attended the Norfolk Program at Yale University. She has exhibited at institutions including Studio Museum Harlem, Montserrat College of Art and the Fine Arts Center, New Orleans. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, FLATT, Boston Magazine, Concierge Magazine, and The Boston Globe. Williams has received numerous awards and recognitions including Presidential Scholars Program Semifinalist, ARTS Recognition Finalist, National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts Finalist, Daniel Price Memorial Scholarship, and Annual Black History Art Contest Winner. Her work is included in the collection of Wellington Management. Williams lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. 

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