‘Out of Bounds’ to open at Eugene Binder Friday

MARFA –– Zeke Williams, Out of Bounds, an exhibition of polychrome wood reliefs, will open at Eugene Binder with a reception for the artist on Friday, May 6, from 4 until 6 p.m. The public is invited. 

The polychrome, wood reliefs by Zeke Williams initially can be perceived as images of iconic vistas of the American West and Southwest, specifically Big Bend. Although these images could have been captured by any number of countless visitors to these sites, many were photographed by William’s grandfather, whom he was close to, and shared an affinity for national parks. The dynamic of family history and relationships grounds the artist’s imagery as something more than simply using a stock image of a national park scene, easily obtainable from a multitude of sources. Likewise, exposing laminations of bonded layers inherent in the plywood he uses becomes a visual history of another aspect of his art-making process. The tool paths made by the cutting tool of a computer numeric control router, the slightly burned areas, and other marks made when the algorithm that controls the machine causes the router to pause momentarily, the depth settings he uses to accentuate specific areas in the composition, even the knowledge of the development of the software used in programing the CNC router, and a sequence of other intermediate software required, becomes an integral part of his process.     

In the production of these works, the cuts into the wood expose layers of unfinished plywood combined with surfaces that have not been machined, onto which the artist has applied vivid color. Together these two very different aspects of Williams’ process create the perception of fractured vision, as though one might be viewing the work through a kaleidoscope or in some altered state of consciousness. While the controlled cuts made with a computer numeric control router reveal precise paths of varying depth, in contrast the seemingly diametrically opposed application of color to the uncut surfaces simultaneously heightens the sharpness of the overall imagery, while magnified areas of the machined aspects of the composition become abstracted, patterned intricacies that struggle for dominance with their flat, painted counterparts. Williams is especially interested in these moments of algorithm pauses, describing them as areas “where patterns break down and well defined areas become more ambiguous.”

It becomes obvious that although the work initially has the look of spontaneity, the process of making it involves a complicated sequence of adapting photographic imagery and Williams’ supplemental drawings to the software that controls the computer numeric control router, the machine that Williams programs to actually making the cuts into the plywood, and the final process of painting the uncut wood surfaces.

For further information contact Eugene Binder at eugenbinder.com or at 432.729.3900. The reception for the artist will take place at 218 N. Highland Avenue in the back space in conjunction with the opening of the Nino Mier Gallery exhibition of work by German artist Jan-Ole Schiemann.