DALLAS – CYDONIA is pleased to announce Sydney Williams’ solo exhibition: Untitled. The exhibition opens Saturday, December 10th and closes on Friday, December 30th, 2016. A reception honoring the artist will take place on Saturday, December 10th from six to eight in the evening.
Williams is the second artist in an exhibition year featuring all female artists and the second local artist CYDONIA has featured. The native Texan’s exhibition focuses on testing and challenging our sense of perception through sculpture. The large dimensions of the objects create a physical negotiation with the viewer, bringing an awareness of the viewer’s body in relation to the object. This experience is similar to the theatricality Michael Fried observed in Minimalist works and their ‘objecthood.’ Marked by a relationship to the viewer and space, her sensitivity to the body also retrace the conceptual trails Bruce Nauman first blazed.
Her practice is two-fold: post-conceptual but educated and trained in the traditions of ceramics. The show is inquiry-based but the methods of making are thousands of years old and supposed to be functional. ‘Mouth,’ ‘lip,’ ‘shoulder,’ ‘neck,’ ‘body,’ and ‘foot;’ the vocabulary of pottery anthropomorphizes the object. This nomenclature (in)directly influences how an artist comprehends her relationship to an object and the purpose of her work.
Williams’ concrete sculptures venture towards an innate sense of knowledge that is crystalized through the synthesis of sight and spatial cognizance. Williams’ individual works transgress their seemingly simple geometry. Plateaued ridges frame conical terminations. Crests, ridges, scoops, and dips undulate across the form. Tumid swells eventually invert into gentle basins. Elements can be disparate, reflected, doubled, or inverted to create an autonomous whole. The presence of the object dominates, but the series of twelve shapes are oblique, softly referencing her conceptualist predecessors. The ceramicist explains that research for the sculptures was based on principles for making children’s toys. Toys are the tools for play, and play is essential to the healthy development, fostering emotional intelligence, social skills, and cognitive reasoning. We hone our creativity and sharpen our innovative abilities through these hard-wired actions.
Negotiating what exists between kinetic development and the development of language, toys are one of the ways in which we are introduced to absence, representation, and ultimately the ‘sign’ or symbol. William’s return to this threshold is analogous to Julie Kristeva’s meditations on the indebted nature that exists between the semiotic and the symbolic. Each work acts as formal meditations of disruption, rhythmical patterns of renewal, decline, and recurrence that mediates the biological and cognition.
Art after modernism often struggles to validate itself. If toys are essential to our development, and art employs the language of toys, can art be essential to our development past childhood? Williams insinuates a most humble method of inquiry. Through process and through touch, the materials provide her with natural comprehension of how we know, how we learn, and how we become who we are.
Sydney Williams holds a BFA in Ceramics from TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition. The artist lives and works in Fort Worth.