Photographs by Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams, a mid-career artist, has an exhibition of photographs up for only a few more weeks at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea. Although he does not have the "household name" like status of his contemporaries, he has a cult following - in terms of those that loyally continue to collect his work and the younger artists and photographers that are influenced by him. He studied in the early 1980s with other conceptual artists at the California Institute of the Arts under John Baldessari (who just had a spectacular survey at the Metropolitan Museum). His photographs seem to straddle between art, commercial and industrial photography happily defying any categorization. In this show, the works are self-reflective, in a way, especially the photo of the bisected camera, the light gauge and model and the picture of the dark room chemicals and equipment which are, on the surface, direct and documentary, but have layers of meaning after further observation. In my opinion, I see them as a possible reaction against digital photography both in subject matter and medium. In this time of the popularity of C-print (Chromogenic color prints), which most digital photographers are using these days, and whose conservation over long periods of time has been called into question, Williams uses archival pigment prints on cotton rag paper and gelatin silver prints in small editions which make them very unique in this age of digital photography. The color, texture and crispness of the images are quite stunning in person, and despite all meaning, they are beautiful to behold.