Stephanie J. Williams: Things That Don’t Have Names

April 23–June 22, 2019

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) presents Stephanie J. Williams: Things That Don’t Have Names, a site-specific sculptural installation in a solo exhibition of interdisciplinary, DC-based artist Stephanie J. Williams, on view April 23–June 22, 2019 at the gallery located at the Reston Town Center. The exhibition is curated by GRACE Executive Director and Curator, Lily Siegel.

Williams has long been concerned with the creation of identity through omission and inclusion, fragments, perceived and constructed narratives, inside and outside, and ingestion. Over the years, she has built a lexicon of visual morphemes, pitches, and syllables that can be configured and reconfigured to form cohesive bodies (of work). She takes these pieces, made of yet smaller parts—fabric remnants, cheap and bulk materials, and found materials—to create the semblance of a larger organism that continues to remain nameless despite its uncanny familiarity. There are body parts, food parts, parts of clothing, glimpses of the locker room and the clubhouse, parts of you, parts of me, and parts of her. Williams continues to expand her vocabulary through animation, sculpture, drawing, and installation in persistent response to the question, “What are you?”

The exhibition, that artist’s largest installation to date, includes recognizable components from her past work reimagined to more deeply consider American identity specifically. The title comes from a quote in the novel White is for the Witching (2009) by Helen Oyeyemi. “Well. I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don’t have names.”

Williams received an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; a Sheridan Teaching Certificate from Brown University, Providence; and a BFA from James Madison University, Harrisonburg. She currently teaches animation at Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA) and has participated in exhibitions at ’sindikit, Baltimore; IA&A at Hillyer, DC; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Delaware Contemporary, Wilmington; among others. She is a 2019 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize finalist.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive schedule of programing, including a conversation between Williams and Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, taking place at GRACE.


Opening reception

April 27, 5–7pm
Free and open to the public

In Their Own Words: Stephanie Williams and Lily Siegel in conversation

May 4, 3pm
Free and open to the public.

Creative Response: Genevieve Villamora of Bad Saint

May 30, 7pm
Free and open to the public. 

Meditation Workshop: Contemplating Creativity

June 13, 7–8:30
Email to register. Free for members of the Greater Reston Arts Center. $5 donation for non-members.

Artist-led Workshop: Stop-motion Animation Workshop with Stephanie J. Willams

June 15, 1–3 pm
$30. Register at

Creative Response: Presenter TBA. Held in conjunction with By The People

June 20, 7pm
Free and open to the public.

Insights: Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Stephanie Williams in conversation

June 22, 3pm
Free and open to the public.

Gallery hours:

Tues–Sat, 11am–5pm
For more information please visit

Pictured at top:

Stephanie J. Williams
Things That Don’t Have Names (detail), 2019
Mixed media site-specific installation
Dimensions variable

Courtesy of the artist

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