Artist: Jere Williams | Location: Richmond, VA
December 2 - March 11, 2023
These artworks span roughly 20 years in my artmaking career, and for the most part, I consider my process to be an inquiry into the desire to know and thereby control. And who doesn’t want to know the truth and to thereby gain control over the pleasure – pain cycle if such a thing is possible. The organization of these pieces, the flow through the gallery, charts a trajectory from highly cerebral to physical. To me, this inquiry stems from my initial training in analytic philosophy and progresses towards a more recent study of non-dualism. You will see attempts at definition, conundrums, humor, illusions, and at times overwhelming density. If you follow a path from the text-based work towards the wood sculpture you will be following a rough chronological path of creation.
In general, my sculptural practice values the physicality of making, truth in the material, and less talking. But first, a few words! An important concept that I gather from the experience of these sculptures, individually and therefore collectively, is that of listening. The pillow and cushion pieces seem quiet to me, and their composition (the ordering of mass according to gravity) tends to create ambiguity in each element’s importance. There is no rule stipulating that being on top of rather than supporting from underneath is of primary importance. You might also find this in the relationship between the rectilinear piece of marble and the river rock separated by the trestle structure in Simple Deference to the Contrary.
The wood sculptures with carved hands or feet begin and end in a space of wonder at how we get through the day. It seems to me that Buddha, Nissargadatta, R. Maharshi, Adyashanti, Jesus and many others who have graced us with their words on being are correct about human suffering. We move through the day identified with a self in perpetual tension, reverberating between the banks of pain and pleasure. It is in the witnessing, a noticing of the meaningless, endlessness of this state that their instruction becomes significant and helpful. Rather than succumbing to fatalism the opposite of what we are typically taught to do becomes possible. I learned, from no one in particular, that we can overcome pain of any kind through control, through effort, through greater knowledge, through acquiring more. The insight, that isn’t really hidden, is that satisfaction absolutely does not last as we are inexorably within the desire – fear cycle (another way of expressing the pleasure – pain cycle). In response to this they all say in their own way, let go, be still, turn away, resist not evil, stop seeking more and allow everything to be as it is. These sculptures are not answers but rather images of our predicament…thinking that there is such a thing as control with a splash of their kind wisdom thrown in.
Join us for an opening reception on Friday, December 2nd from 7 – 8:30PM. Visit each week Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM – 5PM. Admission is free.
Note: This exhibition finished hanging on March 11, 2023.