Derek Boshier, Kandis Williams and JPW3, H1
Night Gallery presents ‘Pop Goes America’, a group exhibition of work by Derek Boshier, Kandis Williams, and JPW3.
Three small totem sculptures constructed of found toys by Derek Boshier stand atop pedestals in the centre of the booth. The totems are reflected in a Kandis Williams piece on the back wall: a tall sheet of mirrored acrylic collaged with the smiling faces of white women—contemporary celebrities and anonymous 19th century sanitorium patients—printed on vinyl. A large-scale Xerox and collage work on paper, also by Williams, hangs adjacently. Two paintings by JPW3 are also included, created via the wax and ink transfer process that has become a central process in his practice. One is a vertically-oriented American flag, in inverted colours, the other a geometrically abstract close-up of another flag.
JPW3’s flag paintings, along with the repetition of Williams’ patterned imagery, imbue the booth with an air of degeneration and offer a parallel to Boshier’s sculptures and Pop Art’s legacy of challenging traditions of hierarchy and class structure. The multigenerational booth considers the notion that a desensitization to images results in lack of language. According to Williams, if there is no language attached to a set of actions or attitudes, then there is no language available for resistance. Together, the artists pose the question of where to go from here.
Boshier (Portsmouth, UK, 1937) is one of the original artists affiliated with British Pop Art, even before the movement flourished in the United States. Boshier’s multidisciplinary and prolific practice has included films, videos, collage, paintings, books, and sculptures. Boshier’s work, steeped in the language of Pop throughout his six-decade career, speaks to the distinct vantage point of a British ex-pat experiencing America’s cultural imperialism at its source, beginning in the Vietnam era and continuing today.
Kandis Williams (Washington D.C., US, 1985) repeats imagery in a way that resonates with the re-performing of social roles informed by gender and race. Her recent work functions as a call to confront the dissonances of our own daily performances, considering how these re-performances of social icons (for example, the figure of the white woman) can become erasures of other cultural narratives.
JPW3 (Tallahassee, US, 1981) uses wax for its indexical potential, allowing for experimentation in the transference and inversion of imagery and form. He uses this process to alter and weather an American flag, exploring the abstraction of language and breaking the signifier.