Williams | Waits 
works by 
Franklin Williams & Kellesimone Waits


June 16 - August 4, 2012


Opening Reception: Saturday, June 16, 6-9PM
Q&A Lecture with the Artists: Saturday, August 3, 6:30-8PM

SMITH ANDERSEN NORTH is pleased to present Williams | Waits, our first exhibition featuring Franklin Williams and Kellesimone Waits -- two artists with a shared history and a playful obsession for acquiring relics, both from their own pasts, and from those lost or discarded anonymously by others. Though there is nearly a 40-year age gap between Williams and Waits, they share a fascination with the sentimental value placed on objects and memories, and what it means to view such objects out of context. Both artists handle their subjects with compassion and humor, cleverly stepping beyond the aesthetic and psychological expectations associated with them. Williams | Waits will feature new works from several of Waits' most recent projects, complemented by a survey of Williams' pieces from 2008 to the present.


Kellesimone Waits' contribution includes selections from her forthcoming "Reliquaries" series, inspired by a comment made by her grandmother in passing: "If the house were on fire the only thing I'd take with me would be my photos." For the series, Waits considered a copious collection of discarded thrift shop photos. "I started to wonder about how these invaluable personal objects found themselves in junk shops," says Waits. "For reasons unknown to me these particular images have lost their homes, all equally wayward. They are reliquaries that have lost the relics they were made to contain." The conceptual driving force behind the series is a curiosity about the topic of time and space and its relationship to identity. The "Reliquaries" series distinguishes itself from Waits' earlier works by virtue of its ephemeral qualities. Waits chose the fragility of paper over canvas, staying mostly with watercolor, to emotively conjure a sense of history and nostalgia. By gently abstracting a selection of portraits from her cache of forgotten photographs, Waits shows the mutability of identity, transforming the image itself into a precious object.


Franklin Williams' works for the show are culled from his acclaimed series "Obsessed." Adjoining motifs borrowed from non-Western exotica, Williams focuses them around contemporized female forms. In the last twenty-four years Williams has visited over forty-four countries. He layers textures and icons from periods and places as disparate as mystical North Africa, to the pre-Roman Balkans, to India, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey, creating an amalgam of style and texture that is uniquely his own.


The scale of Williams' work has also grown significantly larger in the last five years. The meticulous detail of his early small drawings are now encompassing dimensions up to 44"x60" or larger. In addition, he has torn up some of his original works from the 1960's and incorporated them as collage elements to his most recent pieces. "The materials look rather fragile," says Williams. "I didn't lay them down smooth. In the new works, I'm bringing obsessions from the past right into the present." These artifacts, both cultural and personal, activate a fetishistic drive to preserve and possess relics of antiquity, offset by carnal obsession for youth and beauty.


In addition to their shared interest in objects of endearment, Waits and Williams actually do have a shared history. Waits studied painting under Williams' tutelage at California College of the Arts in 2009. Since then, the protégé has not surprisingly made a swift ascension to international acclaim. An established artist in her own right, the two are exhibiting as peers for the first time with this show.




Left: Franklin Williams, Portrait Past (1), 2007. Acrylic, watercolor and ink on paper, 10-1/4 x 6 inches.

Right: Kellesimone Waits, Triangulation, 2012. Gouache, watercolor and colored pencil on 400 lb hot press paper, 22 x 30 inches.