Jeff Williams’s site-specific sculptural works involve intervening in a structure’s architecture to reveal the layers of a building’s history of habitation. His practice incorporates a variety of approaches, including sealing voids, compressing spaces, and opening and constructing walls. Often he uses natural phenomena such as air, light, water, and gravity to create poetic gestures that serve to connect the present with the past. In Sunlight/Substratum (2009), he redirected sunlight using mirrors through subterranean passages in the oldest building of the American Academy in Rome, Italy, where Galileo briefly worked. The piece was only viewable during a few minutes each day, when the sun was in position, thus contrasting centuries of the building’s existence with the fleeting moments of light.
Williams was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1976. He received his MFA from Syracuse University in New York in 2002, and his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio in 1998. He was a Visual Arts Fellow at the American Academy in Rome from 2008 to 2009, and an artist-in-residence in the Core Program at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston from 2006 to 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include Worn Thin, Recess Activities Inc., New York, New York (2011); There is Not Anything That Returns To Nothing, Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2011); Underlying Structures, Galeria Perdida, Chilchota, Michoacan, Mexico (2010); Dust Storm, Silicon Labs Inc., Cook and Ruud, Austin, Texas (2010); Sunlight/Substratum, American Academy in Rome (2009); Row House, Round 28, Project Row Houses, Houston (2008); and Thickly Settled, Okay Mountain, Austin (2007). His most recent group exhibitions throughout 2011 include Heat Island, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, New York; Festival of Ideas for a New City, New York; Black Sunday, Saint Cecilia’s Convent, Brooklyn; and Synthetic Supports: Plastic Is the New Paper, Museum of Fine Arts Houston.