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William Cannings at The Contemporary Art Museum Plainview


The works in this show are from my studio practice. Spanning a timeframe from 2008 to 2019.

I am lured by the visceral quality of inflated objects: the look, feel and smell. I remember as a child bouncing on a day-glow orange toy with the fresh scent of rubber and vinyl. Inflatable objects have exposed me to new kinds of experiences, from playthings to architectural structures. I enjoy the interaction of squeezing, pushing, pulling and being absorbed. It permits a tangible, physical awareness of self and environment. In physical and conceptual modulations, I create a hyper-reality of non-place. I find this a transitory place of material and mind. Inflated objects have become one symbol of popular culture: cheap, disposable, fun, fleeting and iconic, sometimes frivolous and distasteful.

I am interested in the exploration of surface in relationship to the process and materials, as it pertains to the pneumatic inflated forms that I have been investigating and manipulating. Flat steel forms are welded together with the precision of fine stitch work. These are inflated like a rubber tire using air. There is a dynamic and fresh change from 2D pattern to 3D form. The hard permanence of steel and the inherent Industrial nature is transformed into softer, gentler forms embracing the qualities of fabric: pillowing, folding, stretching, seemingly temporary. By addressing the surface, (chrome plating, hand rubbed lacquer, automotive paints, powder coating) subtleties with in the form are made more apparent. Surfaces can reflect the environment and also absorb it, making the relationship of object, environment and audience more poignant. It is this poignancy of audience, object and installation that continuously energizes and compels me to investigate. Audience, object and environment work together. I want to achieve surprise and an immediate reaction to the inflated forms from an assumed perspective – a dissemblance. This becomes a way of playing with a traditional formal approach of looking and judging.

William Cannings is originally from Manchester, England and currently lives and works in Lubbock, TX with his wife, Shannon Cannings, also a fine artist, and his two daughters. He received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA from Syracuse University. He is Professor of Sculpture at Texas Tech University. In 2004, he helped to reinvigorate the Texas Sculpture Symposium, a brand of the Sculpture Network of Texas, where he continues today as an active member.

William Cannings exhibits frequently across the United States including in New York, Miami, New Mexico and Texas. He was one of four artists chosen for a solo exhibition at the 2009 Texas Biennial. His works are seen publicly in the permanent collection of the William P. Clements, Jr. Hospital at UTSW Medical Center in Dallas, TX and the HOLT CAT Headquarters in San Antonio, TX. Likewise, he is featured in the canonical publication, Texas Artists Today.

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