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Herb Williams

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Montgomery, AL

Birth year

Lives in
Nashville, TN

Works in
Nashville, TN


Birmingham-Southern College, 1996, B.F.A. Sculpture

Representing galleries
NY. The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN, RARE Gallery, CHELSEA

sculpture, conceptual, installation, mixed-media, irony, assemblage, Art, Fine, contemporary


Artist Statement

Crayons are a gateway drug.  To most adults, the sight and smell of crayons produce specific memories of childhood. The twist in the road to nostalgia is the creation of a new object, from a medium in which it was not intended.  This element of unexpected interaction and play had me at hello.

 I am one of the only independent buyers in the world who maintains an account with Crayola.  Because I am in pursuit of larger ideas, the playful aspect of my medium is integral to the works of art I’m creating. I can subversively insert a concept that may bloom well after the initial recognition of the form as a familiar children’s implement. To create my work I need to produce sculpture on a grand scale (which takes thousands and thousands of crayons), so I order each color individually packed (3000 to a case) and cut the sticks down to the length I need.  I then bond the paper—not the wax—to a form I have carved or cast, completely enveloping the form.

I am interested in identifying iconic objects that society perceives to fit one role and then reintroducing them in different subtexts. Intriguing questions arise when an object associated with childhood, such as a crayon, is used to address issues dealing with more adult matters, such as sexuality, religion, and social hierarchy. The sculptures are childlike in their curious approach to the object as icon, but beguiling and satisfying to me in the use of pure color as form.  Larger room installations also add the element of playing to the olfactory sense, as the scent of the wax completely saturates the environment.  I hope that this body of work is my most successful in adding to the greater visual dialogue of original art.  My intent is to continue to seriously create art that looks at itself unseriously.

Some of my influences are H.C. Westermann, Fiona Rae, Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Cai Guo-Qiang, Sandy Skoglund, Liza Lou, David Mach, Charles Ray, René Magritte, El Anutsui, Marcel Duchamp, Claes Oldenburg, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Robert Rauschenburg, Tim Hawkinson, Martin Wohrl, Tara Donovan, Banksy, and Ai Weiwei. 
Recent Exhibits

Herb Williams participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2010 Beneath the Surface
Childrens Museum of the Arts
Mar, 2010 Manifest Equality Gallery Opening
Manifest Equality Gallery
Jan, 2010 Come To Your Senses
The Great Neck Center for the Arts
Dec, 2009 Paul Hazelton + Herb Williams
Nov, 2009 8 X 12
Click here to see all exhibits for Herb Williams
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