Friday, July 25, 2014

Deeper Questions

The latest show at the Staple Goods gallery is filled with energy. Colors, rhythms from the music composed by Carl Joe Williams hit the visitor attracted to the old revamped television sets aligned along the wall. With decorations, new attributes, bright Caribbean colors, he reinvents a common reality and finds a new status for the unavoidable TVs which brought the world in our living rooms. Now sculptures, they become kitschy symbols of the power of the object with their crowning adornments. But his transposition of the television set into an icon also signals its upcoming death in the age of the Internet.
Carl Joe Williams's message goes further, projecting edited episodes of Good Times, a sitcom from the 70's with an original soundtrack from the artist, a medley including cheering, laughing crowds interrupted by gunshot noises creating tension or with Deeper Questions, treating of race with its succession of portraits of males melting into females, African-Americans metamorphosing into Asians, Afros replaced by blond flat hairs. Some screens are partly covered by collages, like giant pixels and the images fade in the background. The new works from Carl Joe Williams include also Urban Series, figurative scenes, short visual stories accompanied by text, in the same verve than the multimedia pieces.
The artist tackles different subjects like politics, violence, the influence of media and through cliches and stereotypes, the divisive influence of bigotry. If the colors are bright and sharp, the innuendos are subtle (sometimes not) and the artist is not afraid of using light humor and even a touch of derision.
Re-staging objects, using visual cues to suggest ideas, the artist claims his role as a catalyst for thoughts and revives the concept of art for goals other than purely aesthetics.
An interesting exhibition which provides food for thoughts and conveys sobering conclusions.

photographs by the author:

Deeper Questions, 2014
I Knew Something Was Wrong, 2013
Urban Series, 2014

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