The overhead projectorthat forgotten castaway of middle-school math classassumes center stage in Los Angeles–based artist John Williams’s most recent works. With its bulky frame, clamorous cooling fan, and characteristic distortion of the square of its backlit surface into a top-heavy trapezoid that appears on the wall, the overhead holds little of the nostalgic allure of the 16-mm projector, or even the slide carousel. It’s a little too utilitarian, a little too pedagogic to sustain the sexy sheen of the retro. In this exhibition of five new works, Williams, to his credit, didn’t try to turn the apparatus into a tool of seduction. His sculptures (all 2017) are easygoing combinations of ordinary items arranged on the projector and the wall, as off-kilter as the machine itself, and more attuned to improvisation and experimentation than resolution. In each piece, a
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