Salt Lake City, UT
Working across several modes of expression, artist Jim Williams aims to express each facet of the self through the lens of the narcissistic and isolated artist in his decades-long self portrait.
As a student of art in the late 1960s and early 70s, Williams witnessed and was influenced by key art movements that are ultimately evidenced in his current self portrait project – one he has been working on for the past thirty years. As his work evolved and started to intersect with photography, collage, and sculpture, he drew a kinship with the Pictures Generation, Fluxus, and Dada. Through the meticulous and constant arranging, collaging, re-processing of previous work, and staging of new work in his home, Williams’ practice expanded to include the very gestures of his everyday life. His home has become a series of sets from which Williams draws new works. In fact, many artworks in the home are affixed to or are a designed and built part of the architecture and design detail of the house itself. Taking fragments, and life ‘dander’ (personal events, family photos, mementos), he creates generational, fractal-like sets that span decades and have infiltrated virtually every corner of his living space.
His self-image, at different ages and as different egos, permeates the house, his clothing, and almost any object that leaves or intersects with the home. Be they new arrangements, photographic collages that become new t-shirts, or simply images that stand alone they are moments of the home preserved. Creating a record is a crucial part of the way Jim Williams works, and each action he takes in creating, preserving, giving away or storing a work creates a trail. This exhibition gives the public access to this important work of the last three decades, which has been seen by only those few who have visited Williams’ home over the years. This comes at a critical moment: the crescendo of this ultimate self-portrait will be its dissolution. He has literally used time as a medium, and will present here the work in situ; an installation that contains artifacts from his life as a portrait, one that he now feels is complete. The acting of putting personal work on display will mark the transition of the house as a living artwork to a completed artist archive.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website