Jennifer Williams: The High Line Effect @Robert Mann

JTF (just the facts): A total of 4 large scale and 11 smaller collages, hung against white walls in the two room gallery space. All of the large works are collaged pigmented ink prints on Photo-Tex paper, made in 2013. Physical dimensions range from 13×5 to 15×15 feet, in editions of 3. The smaller collages are unique photo-based constructions, made between 2012 and 2013; all of these works are framed in white/matted and sized roughly 9×11 inches (or reverse). (Installation shots below.)

Comments/Context: Imagine Ed Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip had been infected with a mutating, replicating virus that twisted and morphed his linear progression into something altogether more chaotic and sprawling and you might have some idea of what Jennifer Williams’ collages of the area around the High Line look like. The works cover the gallery like out of control software programs, jumping back and forth between points of view, growing over the walls, up onto the ceiling, and down onto the floor. Perspectives twist before our eyes, turning us around again and again as we try to follow the circuitous swings of imagery.

Williams’ collages emphatically reject the idea of a defined artistic space; she isn’t confined to the area inside a frame or even to the normal centered space on a gallery wall. Her works break out of that mold with sculptural exuberance, to the point of encroaching on our comfort zone, like a pool of spilled water creeping towards your feet. Cranes and cobblestones jut out and geometric patterns (from the architecture) pile on top of each other, flanked by the unexpected bright greenery of the park itself,; apartment buildings and car parks clash with a jittering, almost Cubist expressiveness.

Williams’ smaller works take photographs of found detritus and build them up layer by layer into three dimensional constructions. Stacks of wood planks, discarded cardboard boxes, and piles of abandoned furniture are transformed by sculptural depth, flatness transformed into a richer sense of interlocked over and under. Unlike the expansive wall collages in the main space, these are delicate, intricate works, that require nose to the frame looking to appreciate the craftsmanship of their painstaking construction; in Williams’ hands, an image of a jumble of old rugs or a pile of wooden bed frames is transformed into an abstraction of planes and textures with real thickness.

What is most notable about these projects is their rigorous, open-ended investigation of the sculptural limits of a two dimensional photographic image. Starting with architectural geometries and found abstractions, she has consciously extended outward, trying to redefine how imagery can be given new physical properties.

Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced as follows. The large, wall covering collages range in price from $6500 to $8000 based on size. The smaller collages are $2500 each. Williams’ work has not yet reached the secondary markets with any regularity, so gallery retail remains the best option for those collectors interested in following up.

Read more about: Jennifer Williams, Robert Mann Gallery

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