Rachel Beach. Courtesy of Like the Spice.
Like the Spice is pleased to present Rachel Beach: Towers and Portals, an exhibition of the artist’s conceptually elegant self-referential works.
Situated firmly in the border between sculpture and painting, illusion and reality, masculine and feminine, representation, abstraction and decoration, Rachel Beach’s wooden portals and towers are crafted around cultural and biological limits. By playing painted illusion against sculptural reality each sculpture/painting creates a crisis of perception, an irresolvable tension between what you see and what is possible.
Conceptually the works are also situated in fertile cultural gaps, frustrating expectations. The portals take literally the idea of a painting as a window, framing a section of wall or empty space in the gallery as if the works themselves only existed as complicated borders, casting confusing shadows, as if the arrival of the everyday was announced by a full orchestra. The towers are architectural but can also seem at times like freestanding ornament, as though a monument had become only the detail, as if a person was only made of skin. All of the sculptures do in fact have two layers of skin, one of wood veneer and another of paint.
The works have a very complicated relationship with decoration, sitting it in another wilderness, the one between abstraction and representation. What at first seems like a carved filigree, turns out to be a flat painting, a row of stripes, a complicated set of edges, decoration becomes structure and vice versa. They are sculptures of paintings and paintings of sculptures. These works make it seem possible to collage reality and carve an idea.
Born in Canada in 1975, Rachel Beach received her BFA from NSCAD University in 1998 and her MFA from Yale University in 2001. Rachel has shown her work across both the USA and Canada, most recently with Bespoke, her successful 2008 solo show in Chelsea, New York. She is a past recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Grant and the Canada Council for the Arts Production Grant and was a 2007 nominee for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Emerging Artist Grants. In the past Like the Spice presented Rachel’s work as part of Flip: Rachel Beach and Nora Herting and was pleased to represent her work at the Scope Miami Fair in December 2008. This will be Mrs. Beach’s second New York solo show.