Bespoke Gallery is pleased to present History Repeating, an exhibit of new sculptures by Rachel Beach. This is the artist’s first solo exhibit at the gallery.
Beach’s work combines equal parts painting and sculpture. In this exhibit the artist displays groupings of stand alone and wall-mounted painted and wooden veneer sculptures which reference, incorporate – and, most importantly, re-invent—elements of grand and subtle historical architectural motifs, furniture detailing, building materials, modern abstraction and contemporary design. Beach’s pieces display a reflexive and shifting relationship between their multi-dimensional painted surfaces, which inform the shape and structure of the sculpture, and their sculptural forms, which engender the painted surface.
The combination of familiar historical references with distinctive shapes conceived of by the artist, which are frequently not anchored in any single architectural or design canon, challenges the viewer’s visual perception and interpretation of each object. These highly crafted pieces become, in turn, imbued with their own air of architectural authority, and provide an opportunity to reconsider and reevaluate common visual cues.
Beach’s range of references is both grand and humble. She may choose to incorporate detailing from an ancient Grecian temple doorway, a piece of Italian Baroque furniture or simply reinterpret wooden planks. Some pieces are fanciful, colorful and reference feminine beauty, while others are constructed in monochrome woods, with decidedly harsher lines. In every piece, the artist demonstrates her keen painting, sculptural and carpentry skills.
Beach states, “I try to make my objects off-kilter or duplicitous, tinkering with the characteristics of symmetry/asymmetry, negative space, shape, edge, perspective, perception and objectness. If I can make a contrary relationship believable and interesting, the object holds in it the idea that meaning is not singular or authoritative, but is instead contingent upon context and reading.” Beach adjusts the language of visually familiar forms and aims to challenge modes of representation, the lineage of style and value, and the construction and evolution of meaning in the visual world around us.
Beach is a native of London, Ontario, Canada and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from NSCAD University in Canada in 1998, and received an MFA in painting from Yale University in 2001. Beach has participated in numerous solo and group exhibits in New York and the United States, including, most recently: Flip at Like the Spice in Brooklyn, NY (2008); Rabbit Hole at Kasia Kay Art Projects in Chicago, IL (2008); and Exporting Pop: A Western Fantasy, Kuwait Art Project, Dubai, UAE (2008). She was a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Emerging Artists Grants Nominee. The artist’s work is included in a number of public and private art collections.