Art League Houston (ALH) presents a heel is half a rock, a slab is a slice, an installation of new sculpture and photograms by LA-based artist Karen Lee Williams.
Because they represent places far beyond our direct experience, images and artifacts of space exploration always have a surreal quality. The gap between the advances of astronomy and the public's understanding creates a void where doubt and imagination flourish. Lee Williams makes tactile proxies for those ideas and observations just beyond grasp. The work is inspired by moments when mainstream science and scholarship are infiltrated by superstition and mysticism.
Norman Mailer, while covering the first moon landing, bemoaned the loss of the moon’s mythic aura in the cold analytical hands of scientists and engineers. In search of some profound meaning in putting a man on the moon, Mailer projected all of his longing on a small piece of moon rock. Through an installation of mixed media sculptures that evoke charts, graphs and rock samples, Lee Williams plays to our collective desire for both truth and lore. By contradicting and disrupting supposedly objective methods of measurement, she opens up the potential for other epistemological approaches. The works on view rely on the senses to excavate the potential metaphorical power of objects while acknowledging the absurdity in always trying to reconcile reason with gut feeling. The exhibition draws on the physical and historical connection Houston has with the moon and references some of the city’s artworks that consider the monolith as a symbol of mystery.
About the Artist
Karen Lee Williams (b 1980 Los Angeles) makes sculptures and photographs that prolong the process of translating sensory information into understanding by engaging with and undermining certain assumptions about perception, natural phenomenon and materiality. Lee Williams has had recent solo exhibitions at Equity Gallery, NY and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles. Her work has been presented in galleries and artist-run spaces including Albada-Jelgersma Gallery, Amsterdam; September, Hudson; Scott Charmin, Houston; and Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles. She received an M.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and a B.A. from UCLA. Lee Williams lives and works in Los Angeles.