The High Line Effect
As photography's designation as a medium of pure documentation becomes slowly archaic through the fissures of the Photoshop era, the possibilities of photographic cross-pollination with collage, sculpture, and installation are increasingly eminent. In this vein, Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to present The High Line Effect, Jennifer Williams' debut exhibition with the gallery. Digitally shot yet manually pieced together, Williams' hybrid forms blend a Dadaist-photomontage aesthetic with cohesive imagery and architectural sensibility to create deviant impressions of space and setting. Her works largely reject the square frame; they instead engulf corners, sprout out of walls, or drip languidly onto the gallery floor.
Williams' work also twists the role of the picture in the tradition of site-specific artworks. Rather than using photographs as gallery-ready records of off-site installations, she instead creates photographic installations inside the gallery space that directly reference the building or neighborhood in which the show is mounted. Her installation at Robert Mann Gallery will specifically focus on The High Line, the recently-constructed elevated parkway that runs directly through the gallery district in Chelsea, Manhattan. The piece will make use of the gallery ceiling, walls, and floor to manifest not only the physicality of the High Line skimming above the streets below, but also the intangible disconnects between park and city.
Leisure versus labor, utopia versus utility: Williams extrapolates through the green versus gray. The High Line is not merely an object or an experience, but an impetus—through new construction and rising property values, unprecedented foot traffic and increasing tourism—for multifaceted and mutating urban change. By photographing and collaging the High Line's divergent built environments within the traditionally exclusive gallery walls, she interrogates both the intersection of artistic media and the intimate relationship between place, privilege, and development.
Williams received her MFA from Goldsmiths College in London and her BFA from Cooper Union in New York, where she currently teaches. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the country, and honors include the A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship and the NARS Foundation International Artist Residency, as well as the 2008 Juror's Grand Prize at the 4th Annual Alternative Processes show. Her work has been featured in publications like The New Yorker, Excerpt Magazine, Title Magazine, Photography Quarterly, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. She lives and works in New York City.