Monday, June 6, 2011


 Rebecca Smith
Hanging Dress, 2010
painted steel
83 x 68 x 13 inches

Rebecca Smith
Hanging Dress, 2010 (detail)


Driven to Abstraction

 Featuring work by

Andrea Belag
Lisa Corinne Davis
Amy Ellingson
Catherine Howe
Rebecca Smith
Dannielle Tegeder
Canan Tolon
Carrie Yamaoka

June 9 – July 23, 2011
Opening reception: Thursday, June 9, 6 – 8 PM



Since 2000, I have been making grid-based steel wall sculptures that employ a language of drawing and color. These sculptures, the first of which I called "Cage Pieces," were inspired by the metal "cages" built over gym windows to protect the glass. I interweave light-gauge steel bars that are slender and flexible enough to be worked by hand. Then they are welded into place by a fabricator. When I have lived with them for a period of time, I paint them with brushes and artists’ paint. The fact that they are handmade is important to me. I like the shallow, shadow-play space created by these porous boxes. They conjure associations such as windows and electronic screens that suggest that something is being enacted in them or on them. As artworks, they inhabit a metaphorical space to which painting lays claim while simultaneously possessing a physical presence. Elements of the grids are broken, warped or unraveled. The order of these grids is altered and elaborated upon. There are whimsical moves in the grids. I choose colors that are complex in associative properties.

In 2010 I began work on a series of 10 hanging grid sculptures that are suspended from wall brackets. They are constructed from steel and painted with interference paint, producing a surface that changes color as you walk around the art work. The activity of the painted surface, as well as the overlapping bars of uneven lengths, imparts the sensation of motion to a basically fixed object. Yet this object is not quite fixed. It is balancing on two points--the brackets--and the rest of the piece is hanging from them. In a visual sense, the sculpture is subtly shifting all the time.

“Bending the Hard Way II,” 2011 is an assembly of separate components consisting of five separate rectangles, united by material, color, and the wall support from which they are suspended.

I like sculpture that declares itself as part of life and not as artifice. I don’t want a sculpture to be pleading a special case for itself. I like sculpture that quietly occupies a space that is human-scaled, that feels like it has a place in the world. Yet it must embody something alive and charged--as a human being does. A sculpture has to have this special presence, otherwise it does not deserve the space it is taking up. My sculptures take part in the metaphorical practices of painting and image-making. I believe the grids in my sculpture are related to the constant mental calculation of living in today’s informational and emotional matrices. On another level they reflect the ongoing mental processes of thinking and acting incrementally, registering small acts of whimsy and rebellion during the course of one’s life, which can gradually add up to enormous changes.



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