Abbey Williams: (STILL)
April 9, 2009 – May 9, 2009 Opening Reception April 9, 6 - 8 PM
BELLWETHER is pleased to announce (STILL), Abbey Williams’ first solo show with the gallery.
The word (STILL) works as adjective, adverb and noun to describe a body of work wherein Ms. Williams conflates an unsentimental take on the journey toward motherhood with her own struggle to make art.
Williams makes near motionless performances in a series of video portraits in which she superimposes herself over a still image, insistently trying and failing and trying to equal the figure in the frame. She continues to work with video in multiple channels: images are projected side by side or layered in a single frame in an effort by the artist to contend with the flattening of time as she dissolves herself over art historical images and pop culture iconography. Be it a still from Maya Deren’s film Meshes Of The Afternoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album cover Double Fantasy or Courbet’s painting Origin of the World, Williams attempts to assume literal visual semblance in an effort to become their figurative equivalent.
In other works, Williams uses multiple images and bodies to grapple with the history of the representation of women and her own vulnerability as she uses herself as the subject and medium of this exploration. In making this work, she has been inspired by the seminally feminist contributions of Sophie Calle, Yvonne Rainer, Ulrike Rosenbach and Cindy Sherman.
(STILL) meditates on the arc of the creative process via pregnancy, motherhood, fertility, and sexuality ——Williams set out on this body of work in anticipation of the birth of her first child and completed the work prior to her expected due date. Then the unthinkable happened, her son died in labor and was delivered stillborn on January 26, 2009. Although several of the works have been re-visited since the loss of her son, in many ways all of the works now take on the dual function of living as a testament to the most devastating kind of loss imaginable and the nine months the artist spent contemplating her expectant new life as a mother.
"After most deaths, I imagine, the awfulness lies in how every-thing's changed: you no longer recognize the form of your days. There's a hole. It's person-shaped and it follows you everywhere, to bed, to the dinner table, in the car. For us what was killing was how nothing had changed. We'd been waiting to be transformed, and now here we were, back in our old life." From An exact replica of a figment of my imagination by Elizabeth Mc Cracken.
Abbey Williams’ work has been exhibited at Tate Britain (London), PS1/MOMA (new York), The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), The Wadsworth Antheum Museum (Hartford) and The Studio Museum of Harlem (New York). The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.