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Houston Figurative Art, 1984
Frank Williams’ polyester resin sculpture is cast from life. Rather than simply duplicate a particular person to then portray recognizable personages, Williams sculpts situations that are molding personal and social sensibilities. His sculpture does not simulate reality but recreates a reality we experience. He sets the table and invites us to dinner.
Guilt Series: Second Serving is a male head on a silver platter complete with garnishes. The eloquent place setting accents the facial expression of anguish. Murder can be a formal, socially acceptable delicacy. In a day of feminine consciousness raising and entry into the power structure, Williams offers this entree to speak to the abuse of feminine power that acts as Aphrodite devouring men and, like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland ordering “Off with their head.” We have all faced the futility of reasoning with people who merely want to eat you alive.
The cannibalistic nature also connotes an eucharistic element of “eat my body, drink my blood,” symbolizing the formal service of self in martyrdom. Self-sacrifice is based on convictions contrary to prevalent cultural norms. This sense of responsibility to withstand unjust social order can destroy one’s being.
Today we practice limited warfare which enlists limited service for limited goals. Full commitment is absurd within a society where no value is ultimate. Everything is relative, but relative to what? The tongue hangs out, unable to convince or fully explain. Sometimes only through action, totally giving up one’s self, allowing to be killed, can one then, through that destruction, cause, through guilt, a change in the other person. Sometimes humanity can only make its value known through the horror of its death.