The ten year anniversary of 9/11 has everybody looking for a way to commemorate. It seems especially prevalent in the art world, where artists of all kinds are helping to voice the range of emotions that other people are feeling about America.
But there is some art that speaks about American culture without being directly influenced by the anniversary. For the past two years, Jeff and Sabrina Williams have worked together to take recycled and found materials and created sculptures. The pieces are not simple, but rather full, detailed scenes, and colored brightly. They depict stereotypical views of American life, from trailer parks, to farms, to backyard barbeques.
"The way it all started was we realized that every time we traveled
somewhere we didn't want to take pictures anymore, because we're
photographers. We just wanted to experience it," Sabrina said.
They began sketching scenes and upon returning home they constructed
models that were later photographed for the project. The figures in the
models look like something out of an animated film, and the couple is
often asked if they will do a stop-animation short. For now, they're
sticking to stills.
"A lot of the images have a story behind them, and we're trying to tell
one story with one single frame," Jeff said. The stories behind the
photos are sometimes even more bizarre than they are depicted. "The
chicken [buried with his feet sticking out of the ground] is a true
story. We were at a guy's house; he had killed a rooster and buried it
upside down to teach the other chickens not to wake him up in the
morning. The story behind some of these is quite interesting," Jeff
They don't provide written explanation with the artwork, however,
because they prefer the face-to-face interaction. "I choose to rather
tell someone the story when we're right in front of them," Jeff said.
When he isn't around to give explanations, "it lets the story unfold in
the viewers' head."
Interestingly enough, only Jeff is from the U.S. - Tennessee to be
exact. Sabrina was raised in Brazil. The different backgrounds provide
for a blended perspective and interpretation on what America is.
See "American Dream" at Bakehouse Art Complex (61 NW 32nd St Miami). The
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exhibit will feature high-resolution photos of the Williams's original
sculptures. The complex opens at 12 p.m.. For more information, visit
www.bacfl.org or call 305-576-2828.