Time is Like the East River

Curator Liza Statton

November 10—December 19, 2009


William Lamson

Video still Time is Like a River

Time is Like the East River marks a first for Artspace. It marks the first time we have given the entire gallery space over to one artist; it is also the largest exhibition to date of William Lamson’s work. Innovative and ambitious are only two of the many apt descriptors for Lamson. In this exhibition alone, the artist produced three site-specific installations—including a fantastic public artwork— that convey a sense of urgency, risk, imagination, and a deep passion for pushing physical and conceptual boundaries of place, space, and time.

Lamson is an exploratory artist who has an uncanny facility for creating profound works from small gestures. In Time is Like the East River, he uses the time-based mediums of video, photography, and performance to question the nature of time as a material, form of measurement and symbol of transformation. His ethereal drawings, created through uncontrollable forces, are paradoxical objects: they ask us to consider our own mortality while denying the presence of a human hand.

There are moments in Lamson’s work where his probing of time appears as a singular, personal quest; yet this impression is just window-dressing for an artist wrestling with larger ideas about individual and communal space. Using time as his subject, his exhibition reveals conversations with and about time as a communal experience—one that is both relevant and obsolete.

Employing “modernized artifacts,” like the medieval-style cart, Lamson’s work informs this conversation and brings together a community of viewers. In each installation—the lyrical wall drawing made with firecrackers and fuses, or the perfectly polished half canoe, the clock that keeps a different time or an over-sized basketball court (as in his work in the Lot for the contemporaneous public performance work, Long Shot)—he shows us a place where art and the community are “reconciled at a place of intersection.”

Download the catalogue for this exhibition here.

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