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John Williams, Untitled, 2017, overhead projector, soccer goal, spray paint, powder-coated steel mesh, PVC board, film gels, metal chain, plastic chain, hooks, speaker mesh. Installation view.

John Williams

Brennan & Griffin

John Williams, Untitled, 2017, overhead projector, soccer goal, spray paint, powder-coated steel mesh, PVC board, film gels, metal chain, plastic chain, hooks, speaker mesh. Installation view.

The overhead projector—that forgotten castaway of middle-school math class—assumes 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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