Posted: June 4, 2020
Fletcher Williams III: Promiseland
The picket fence is an important character in Williams’ narratives as is its role in the practices and processes of his artistic production. Throughout the Aiken-Rhett House Museum, viewers will discover a combination of decorative, figurative and spatial representations of pickets that not only disrupt this historically complex symbol, but offer opportunities to reimagine the social and cultural landscapes of the American South.
The exhibition commences with site-specific installations of pickets that appear as faceless figures alongside haunting video projections to engage spatial experiences and implications of movement throughout the site. Williams also situates into prominent positions sculptures recalling Southern yard art and evoking the legacies of labor and the ingenuity of vernacular African-American craftsmanship.
Nine large-scale works on paper inspiring the title of the exhibition Promiseland are layered into the interior with the largest – Eden – located at the end. Created by taking multiple rubbings of a single fence post and then painted with Spanish moss, these monochromatic and color saturated compositions present overlapping and intertwining white pickets in fictional landscapes. Several read as portals or gateways to unexplored utopias while others sit as unsettling fortifications. Together, they work to connect the physicality of natural and built environments with lived experiences as well as raise questions about boundaries and barriers and what we choose to protect and separate.
Co-curated by Fletcher Williams III & Kelly S. Turner
Fletcher Williams III (b. 1987) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina. Williams studied drawing, painting, print making, graphic design and sculpture at The Cooper Union, where he received a BFA in 2010. Williams’ art making practice is rooted in vernacular art and architecture, particularly those unique to the Lowcountry. His work has been exhibited in numerous group
and solo exhibitions throughout the United States.
This exhibition is made possible by lead support from a The Dean Collection 20 St(art)ups grant. Additional support is provided by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Expansion Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina and the Lowcountry Arts Grants Program, administered by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program.
Photo: “Eden” by Fletcher Williams. Image courtesy of artist.