Texas T (studio/archive)

In ‘Studio/Arkhon: Texas T’ (2008) I used the archival framework to contend authority to the viewer. This project was a multi-media portrait of a Cowboy in south London. Terry C. Williams had never been to America or worked on a ranch, yet he dressed like a Sheriff, had the boots, the badge, the cigar, and an extensive knowledge of country and western films and music. I was interested in how he had sustained his chosen persona with conviction for decades and continued to do so daily. During the first week and a half the viewer could see the exhibition come to life, as I gradually installed work and made work in the gallery, whilst also receiving several visits to the gallery from Terry himself. The show comprised of a series of small black and white paintings, and some etchings taken from various sources, some from photos taken first hand, some from Terry’s old albums and somewhere country and western icons. Terry’s full gamblers outfit was on show, a whole host of Terry’s cowboy paraphernalia as well as photographic documentation of Terry’s home. In a smaller room, Terry’s living room was recreated, in the corner the TV sat under a lamp with cowboy silhouettes, whilst the video playing was a montage of interviews and outings with Terry. The room also contained a large collection of photos, again from various sources. Photos of Terry and I at his country and western night were shown next to photos of country stars on stage, old photos were side by side with the new. Time or chronology was not an important issue, Terry was a cowboy in the 60s and he continued to be today. Also the juxtaposition of famous people with family photos was appropriate as the stars and the fictional characters held as much importance in Terry’s life. This was a postmodern interpretation of Terry’s interpretation of contemporary life.

‘Doris and Florence’ acrylic on paper, from ‘Studio/Arkhon: Texas T’ (2008)