Born 1992, Dallas, Texas
Sydney Williams (re)creates oversized geometric shapes in unexpected scale, abstracting them from purpose. Maternal arabesques are scaled to dominating proportions, and imaginative memory is tempered with influences of symbolic form.
Williams’ practice is best described as post-conceptual ceramics. Her works are born from the marriage of two exceedingly sovereign domains: Minimalist art and Ceramics. Philosophies are borrowed from conceptualists of the 1960’s and an art form traced back to the Neolithic age, roughly 10,000 years ago. Underlying concerns of ceramics center on the object’s functionality combined with an innate, natural connection to the human figure. The nomenclature of pottery, with vocabulary like ‘lip,’ ‘neck,’ and ‘feet,’ are anthropomorphically termed, (in)directly diagramming a student’s understanding of the practice. Specifically, Williams’ objects are positioned between an awareness of our body (similar to the Minimalist predisposition towards ‘theatricality’ outside of the Modernist narrative) and the (non) functionality of an object. However, the methodology of her chosen medium and the inspiration for her artworks are rooted with purpose. Can functional art be critical? How can we redefine the definition of art?
As she expands her practice into sculpture, she investigates what meaning objects have in relation to the figurative or biological. The lifelong Texan revisits principles that early childhood toys embody for cognitive development. Elemental and familiar shapes of toys transport us back to our initial moments of thinking with the body: movement, our first verbal utterances, hand dexterity, and other basic motor functions. Toys are a crucial mediator between the body and knowledge. Williams’ practice is a reflection on the indebtedness that the symbolic has for the “the kinetic functional stage of the semiotic” which “precedes the sign” in the philosophies of Julie Kristeva. Shapes and tools are a vehicle of learning outside the parameters of adult pedagogy, before we are introduced to the denotative meaning of language. Williams is interested in learning in conjunction with our body. The push and pull of these two modalities of semiotic and symbolic create different modes of articulation and expression. The artist explores these revolutionary possibilities Kristeva proposes with earth and stone: the oldest, most humble of all materials.
Sydney Wiliams holds a BFA in Ceramics from Texas Christian University. CYDONIA will host her first solo exhibition in December 2016.
The artist lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas.