It's been an incredible two weeks sharing my work with the community and everyone visiting Charleston for its annual Spoleto Festival, but it's time to pack it up. So, stop by the gallery, snap some photos for social media, and bring your questions. I'll be there. - Fletcher
Gallery Hours for Sunday June 12th:
12p - 4p
Former Zion Olivet Church / Large Brick Building
134 Cannon St.
Charleston, S.C. 29403
Free parking is available in the front and rear of the building.
The community of Chicora Cherokee sits between Fletcher Williams' Park Circle studio and historic downtown Charleston. By outsiders, it's a neighborhood often regarded as distressed, impoverished, and unsafe, but locals protest there’s a lack of resources, like grocery stores, health care facilities, and social services, only available to most newly developed regions of Charleston. Chicora’s relationship with law enforcement has long been tarnished and was further degraded by the shooting death of Walter Scott by a North Charleston Police Officer in April of 2015.
The condition of the neighborhood is often unnoticed and has seeped into Williams’ latest works. Using a collection of materials found throughout the Chicora neighborhood—scrap wood from new builds, fencing, furniture, and metal—Williams constructs a pseudo Chicora, an environment both spirited and lifeless. Shingles become moss. Abstract drawings become three-dimensional facades of small-scale homes. A life-size sculpture titled “Left Out To Dry” asserts abandonment and marginalization. Most works have been left colorless, void of the vibrant spectrum inherit of the Charleston architectural landscape and its historical landmarks, like Rainbow Row. For Williams, color only enters the conversation through the appropriation of audacious, automotive paint jobs on “box” Chevrolet Caprices and Crown Victorias.
Beyond The Rainbow began with a series of black and white drawings started upon Williams’ return to Charleston, S.C. from Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2013. Struck by the high frequency of shooting deaths throughout the Charleston region, Williams began producing 14 trough-like frames filled with tightly woven Charleston Palmetto Roses. Each frame encases expressively illustrated scenes of execution and combat. They are created in black ink and graphite pencil, collaging pop culture iconography and African American motifs. Scenes depicted in these drawings reflect shootings that occurred over a five month span, September 2013 to January 2014. Following the drawings, Williams constructed a series of life-sized sculptures interpreting various scenes from the drawings. From chicken wire, rusted fencing, and Palmetto Roses emerged works that serve as objects of beauty and indicators of violence.
With a combination of descriptive drawings and a tactile environment, Beyond The Rainbow presents a framework useful to understanding the complexity of Charleston’s shifting social and racial landscape.