About a month ago I visited Sikkema Jenkins to check out William Cordova’s first solo show at the gallery. I’ve followed his work since working for his German gallery rep and have always enjoyed the many times experiencing them in person. There are various cultural and material facets incorporated into his work and I am most drawn to the process and formal aspects than the stories that are told behind them.
The act of assemblage is prominent in each piece and the strongest work in this show is the 100 drawing suite Untitled (The Echo in Nicolas Guillen Landrians Bolex). I don’t quite even know what the words in the parenthesis means and don’t care to clarify honestly. I am however in love with this series, installed below eye level along 3 walls , a sea of small drawings with a few unifying elements found in many of his work: texts blacked out in tape, cut outs of speakers, records, microphones, and remnants of urban experience (tires, brooms, trucks).
Thinly cut strips of photos are composed in blasting rays surrounding an isolated speaker and a grid of stenciled geometric shapes are patterened throughout the plane, all composed with variety but within a singular vocabulary, that of being distributed on a neutral surface that also begets a character of its own. Worn, stained, used, and re-purposed papers host this play on appropriation, arrangement, collecting, building, layering, using, and reusing.
Perhaps thru reconfiguring and referencing objects of the everyday he is acting on a point of erasure, or simply resignifying. Their arrangement suggest interaction, a narrative that is somewhat human, an earnest and immediate energy that to me feels personal and warm. It’s possible I am completely misinterpreting his work. Other works in the show involve a labyrinth created by records that were apparently once banned from entering a university collection. Feathers, a paper bag and coin holders are layered atop each other and form some sort of alter object.
Gold leaf is an integral part of his work and there is a large one as the backdrop behind the labyrinth. There is also a tv stage made of wood that viewer must walk around to see a video of tupac. In the back room is a chandelier created by necklaces connected one after another to form a long massive chain link. Death, decay, history, the idolized, the everyday, music, the counterculture, all these are imbedded into each work and I react more immediately to their physical outcome as ingested and executed by the artist. I can feel their presence but find their physical form more attractive and endearing.