We would all like to believe our ancestors are smiling down at us.Â Â We want to think that if they could see us, theyâ€™d beam with approval.Â Â In the fantasy, theyâ€™d radiate nothing but warmth.Â Â But if we could stand before them, what would we observe?Â Â What marks would omniscience leave on their faces?Â Â If they could watch us as we went about our lives â€” if they could peer into our private moments â€” would they really be so pleased?Â Â And what about the parlous state of the world?Â Â Would they not be weary of all the deleterious matters and cruel inequities that obstruct their guidance and protection?
Heather Williams has thought about all of this, and sheâ€™s been brutally honest about it. Her â€œProtective Spiritsâ€ are formidable, and sincere, but theyâ€™re also tired of the nonsense. The weight of history is heavy on their faces: it drags down their eyelids, furrows their brows, and tears at their terra-cotta cheeks. Williamsâ€™s visages will stare out from the walls of the Bridge Gallery (199 Broadway, Bayonne) until mid-July. Standing before one of them is a bit like facing a stern but loving auntie after youâ€™ve screwed up. Facing an entire roomful, as you do at â€œProtective Spirits,â€ might just prompt you to reevaluate some of your dodgier decisions in order to get right with the ancestors.