Prelude to The Namesake, Part One: James Joseph Williams Senior
02 April through 02 May 2009
Selected by Owen Reynolds Clements
Prelude to The Namesake, Part One: James Joseph Williams Senior is the first in a series of installations where Williams explores his relationship with individuals past and present, familiar and unfamiliar. William’s subject in this exhibition is his grandfather, James Joseph Williams Senior. William’s work incorporates elements of drawing, sculpture, personal possessions and found objects. These materials collectively memorialize the past while acknowledging its influence on the present. Williams' installation is the result of faulty memories and cross-generational coincidences. While conjuring his grandfather's life, Williams also highlights the differences in his grandfather's Brooklyn and William's Brooklyn.
The Senior Williams is seen in parts as a kind of jack-of-all-trades, his interests ranging from carpentry, archery, classical music and engineering to bowling. The younger Williams’ life is juxtaposed to the elder’s, trying to find, through the gaps, how one comes to hold similar interests and experiences. He examines whether this happens merely by accident and if ambition and a desire for specific knowledge can be passed down through generations without the benefit of a verbal history. By fetishizing artifact, relationships, and the need to create, Williams publicizes the personal in a study of class and the past's overwhelming presence.
James J. Williams III has exhibited work in New York, London, Paris and Berlin. He is currently represented by envoy enterprises in New York. William’s is head of The Thornstein Foundation and serves on the Board of directors for Opium Magazine.
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