Born in 1963, Ed Williford was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, and currently lives and works in Brookhaven, Mississippi. After studying art, philosophy and architecture at Mississippi State University and Ole Miss, Williford moved to a rural farmhouse in Magnolia, Mississippi in his mid-thirties. On the farm, Williford created an existence for himself that was filled with open time, an existence that allowed him to begin a period of self-examination through art.
Williford creates abstract sculptures from non-traditional everyday materials. “I find my materials in thrift stores and hardware stores,” he says. It is that alchemy of transforming common materials into mysterious and uncommon objects that drives his work. There exists in each object a tension between industrial mediums and organic forms, between the common and the rarified, between reality and fantasy. His palette is monotone, mainly derived from oxidation and coffee. Much of his fabric is sourced from thrift-store drapes. Other materials include Elmer’s glue, tape, wire, chicken feed sacks and loofah.
Williford arrived at his practice intuitively, following his own interest in the everyday materials in his life. It shares many of the hallmarks of the Arte Povera movement in 1960s Italy. Through the use of simple materials and forms, the everyday becomes meaningful and the hierarchies of “art” and common objects are broken down. Ultimately, though, the work of Ed Williford is the expression of one man’s exploration of the material culture around him. He is following his imagination and his hands, finding his place in the world through the ritual of repetitive handwork – wrapping, binding and twisting the common towards something transcendent.