Unbroken: Cross Currents and Contemporary Time

Curated by Jennifer Chi, phd 

ArtEmerge is proud to announce our inaugural exhibition, Unbroken: Cross Currents and Contemporary Time. The virtual exhibition illustrates how time has a multiplicity of meanings by the diverse works selected for the exhibition.

Unbroken is influenced by the jarring events of 2020 and their ripple effects on society’s psyche. The show is structured to visualize the connections and conversations centered on a series of topics such as self-reflection, human imperfection, and the need to cancel the noises that permeates our daily existence. It looks at the significance of signs and symbols and asks how and why we continue to break the rules for love and survival and begs for deep introspection and investigations of our thoughts.

Williamson’s “Say What You Want” and Garcia’s “Documented Thoughts Through Time,” set the tone for the exhibit and serve as pillars for the five visual conversations of the show, as told through the works of the two participating artists; one who seeks to conceptualize society’s perception of time and the other whose art takes the onlooker through rippling waves of emotions, metaphors for the state of society today which beg for deep introspection as we navigate and evolve through this strange and transformative time.  


Pillar 1

 Say What You Want / Documented Thoughts 

The two pillar pieces in this exhibition, Williamson’s “Say What You Want” and Garcia’s “Documented Thoughts Through Time” stand as the largest pieces in the exhibition and as pillars to the conversation. Both works speak to the self-reflection and process we must go through to move forward and heal. 

 2020 became a year of quiet contemplation that begged for deep investigations of our thoughts and who we are as people. When we look inside, were we gracious, kind, giving, or did we find intolerance, self loathing, or darkness.

Pillar 2

 Say What You Want / Documented Thoughts 

The intense solitude 2020 created showed us things we did not always want to see, but it also made us face our demons and live with ourselves more authentically. Garcia’s words, “Documented Thoughts Through Time” on the aging, crumbling walls (actually acrylic and oil on canvas) reflects that which is documented, while the sheer monumentality and masculine energy of Williamson’s “Say What You Want” seems to demand that you say what you truly want and mean.

These two pieces, “Say What You Want” and “Documented Thoughts Through Time”, encapsulate an acute awareness of the state society is in and how we respond, document, and evolve through it.

Conversation 1

Suddenly-Now / Love Lives 

Williamson’s “Suddenly-Now,” influenced by Ruscha’s word paintings and Garcia’s, “Love Lives” pulling from Banksy’s work on crumbling walls and buildings, steers the conversation towards a deep inner passion. We hide strong emotions away in an effort to keep from searching our souls and looking at the hard questions that eventually we must all face if we are to grow and love unconditionally. 

Art, like love, moves the heart in unexpected directions, sometimes asking the hardest questions and making us look closer at our innermost feelings and insecurities. The conversation between these two emotionally charged works is passionate, complex, and complimentary.

Conversation 2

Life Moments / Coming Together

Signs and symbols appear to us in the moments in our lives when we need them most. They inadvertently direct us when we’re in search of guidance. Sometimes these are the precursors to strange difficult times where we emerge with more clear directions and insights. These are the defining moments in our lives and the ones we remember with reverence and respect. Garcia’s, “Life Moments” and Williamson’s, “Coming Together” speak to the idea of signs and symbols guiding our journey.

Conversation 3

That Someone / Beauty & Dying

Garcia’s “That Someone” and Williamson’s “Beauty & Dying” discuss who we break the rules for, why we break them, and if we should. When humanity is pushed to its extremes, it can be hard to understand why the universe has pushed back so hard and if the same rules of life still apply. “Beauty & Dying” examines the story of our nature to love and break rules in order to survive. These two works question each other in discord, “Which rules have you broken?”

Conversation 4

Canceling the Noise / Tainted Love

We have a lot of noise in our lives- news, politics, anger, judgment, and more. We need stillness to reflect on who we are and how we move forward in a world that has changed. By “Canceling the Noise” and bypassing the “Tainted Love” that has surrounded us, we can get closer to this stillness. Canceling out this noise is a part of growth, to calm ourselves and grow within in an effort to maintain composure. These two works have come to the revelation that they may need to accept things they don’t want to accept in order to survive.

Conversation 5

Not Perfect But It’s All Yours / Lost in Transition

The imperfect heart and the jagged walls of Garcia’s, “Not Perfect But It’s All Yours” reflects the imperfection that exists in all of us. The deep, hazy blue that encapsulates Williamson’s, “Lost in Transition” symbolizes imperfection as it transitions through its many forms. 

Yves Klein said that “color is sensitivity in material form, substance in its purest form.” Whether a blue haze that is a memory stuck in our minds or a heart etched painfully into the wall of a derelict building, substance is what is most important. Color can carry substance as powerfully as conversation.  


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Meet the Artists


Todd Williamson

Art Emerge is proud to feature a new series of original artwork by Los Angeles-based abstract painter, Todd Williamson. The artist is the current winner of the Pollock Prize for Creativity, only the third artist in history to win this coveted prize. His project Processional was one of twenty official exhibitions at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

His work is influenced by the abstract expressionist movement 1950s in New York. Using a refined process of building and removing multiple layers of oil on canvas, his works engage both complementary hues and opposing values, focusing on the subtle layers of color and movement.​

Williamson’s latest abstract contemporary paintings emanate symbolism rooted in his use of color and number theory combined with mysticism to convey introspection into society’s value systems today.


Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia, born Houstonian, is a time architect, influenced by the unending connection between art and science studied by Da Vinci. His fascination with aging and how change occurs, led him to undergo a deep self-psychoanalysis through the abstraction of his first seven series spanning over a decade.

Spending two years away from the art scene, several months of which he spent isolated in central Mexico. He mapped and constructed a theoretical model that captures the intersection of experience, awareness, and control across time and subject matter (Humanity’s Sustainable Infinite (HSI)).

“Walls of Time,” his eighth series, focuses on the complexity of time and the human perception of it through the simplicity of aging walls as architectural structures representing reality.

About the Curator

Jennifer Chi is currently a freelance curator based in New York City. She was the founding Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator and of New York University’s uptown galleries as well as the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Brooklyn Museum and has held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Ashmolean Museum. She has a Ph.D. in art history from New York University and a Master of Studies with distinction from Oxford University, England.