all the narrative potential of the three obvious physical dimensions
of Troy Williams' sculpture there are many other considerations
that contribute greatly to the enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding
of his entrancing 360-degree works of figurative art. Among
these are the emotional responses and intellectual interpretations
that first go into the artist's creative process and then into every
subsequent spectator's viewings at least somewhat differently each
artists insist on leaving these entirely up to each viewer, but
Williams is glad to enrigh the experience by inviting the viewer
in for a little insight into the artist's intention. Certain ambiguities
and unintended provocations might otherwise arise, as he uses original
combinations of materials or ideas in highly original ways.
the sophisticated clientele of Glenn Green Galleries, Williams specializes
in figurative and facial sculptures hewn from fallen woods he finds
while running near his home in the mountains of north-central New
Mexico. In the past he worked with exotic woods, but now avoids
them in a desire to protect the people, plants and animals that
depend on a vibrant, healthy and unexploited local ecosystem. Finding
dead and downed wood also introduces an element of serendipitous
chance into the sculptor's process of selection and inspiration.
provides an exquisite variety of workable solids, surfaces, patterns
and curves in cottonwood and the juniper this sculptor favors. Williams
simply rescues these from the elements and then elevates them to
timeless treasures by relating them to themes that express our deepest
nature. Awake to the most beautiful twists, turns, and striations
already present in these found mediums, he is naturally and passionately
drawn to every stage of freeing the underlying sculpture. Following
the wood's ingrained tendencies is always a creative guide for the
up in an Indiana farming community, his dad a family practice doctor
and his mother an artist, he has always felt an affinity for the
earth and especially its mountains. Williams initially came west
to study agriculture at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado,
attracted there by a setting where his athletic nature could find
full expression. His interest in agriculture gave way to his love
of the mountains. In order to continue living in them and enjoy
the hiking, climbing-, and running he also loved, he worked for
several years in a solar business, progressing from manufacturing
to installations to design.
a fortuitous errand for a cousin back home, Troy happened into silversmithing
and began producing simple, hammered ear cuffs. At this point the
artistic nature that he had earlier suppressed in favor of athletics
began to emerge strongly, and he expanded into more complex designs
as he mastered goldsmithing and lapidary. Another quantum leap occurred
when he made his first copper face for a pendant. He couldn't wait
to see the face on a larger scale and was eager to learn another
began sculpting metal, then stone, then discovered wood as his medium
of choice. Wood had immediate allure: it was scented, expanding,
contracting, and seeming to breathe. Williams was seduced by its
warmth, the play of light on the complexion of its grain, and the
inherent life force so evident in wood. He also learned to coax
creative advantage from some of wood's pitfalls, like soft spots,
tricky grains composed of woody xylem and softer phloem; and to
avoid the conditions that make it splinter.
quality of segmentation or fragmentation characterizes Williams'
sculptures and provides great visual satisfaction along with intriguing
thematic provocation. One is struck by the beautiful outlines that
might never be apparent had he not removed segments or created interior
voids expressly to reveal them.
sculpting a face, Williams focuses on aspects that are mask-like,
floating, and alive with contours that might not be visible' were
the artist to sculpt the full head. The segmentation in his exquisitely
figurative works incorporates solids, hollows, and curvilinear elements
for reasons that are at once artistic, philosophical, and experiential.
attending basic college art classes, to understand more fully the
human figure Williams spent a summer in Europe studying figurative
sculpture. He also spent time with an orthopedic surgeon, learning
musculature by starting with a skeleton then building out the muscles
individually in clay. He later spent more time studying with a forensic
scientist, all towards having the correct figure as a foundation
on which to exercise his artistic intention.
a stirringly powerful figurative sculpture called "Drought,"
Williams depicts a magnificently exquisite female torso, soft and
vulnerable, eternally beautiful.A coil of rusty barbed wire spirals
up around her as the polar opposite of her gentle, life-affirming
nature. "I, like most everyone, was struck by the horrid images
of the oppression of women coming out of the Middle East,"
he explains. "Women in their burkhas begging for food, being
beaten, disfigured, even murdered for 'family honor'.
those images hovering in mind, another female image struck me. In
a coffee shop the cover of a regional tabloid showed a photo of
a woman's torso with the words 'Roe
v. Wade' written on the flesh of her midriff. Yes, we are lucky
to live in a country where women are less bound than elsewhere,
but isn't it also true that a segment of our society is for religious/moral
reasons trying to bind women by taking away their right to choice?
This is not a pro-choice statement on my part.
point is that we are all bound by our environment and/or society
in many ways, and that throughout most of the world, women are bound
much tighter than men. The original name for this piece was 'Bound,'
but when looking at it, I get the same feeling as I do from looking
out my back door. I look at those beautiful mesas with their red
rock and green life and can feel a harshness about the air. The
of Mother Earth is also bound, not by wire or society, but by drought.
So now I call this piece "Drought."
Williams's sculptures are about situations and beings expressed
in human form. Beautiful and filled with meaning, they reveal rare
genius, and should not be missed.