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Kate Costello, Tattooed Ladies

Wallspace Gallery
619 West 27th Street, ground floor, 212-594-9478
May 15 - June 21, 2008
Reception: Thursday, May 15, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Wallspace presents Tattooed Ladies, an exhibition of new sculpture and drawings by Kate Costello. For her first solo show at Wallspace, Costello fills the gallery with sculptures and a series of large-scale, multi-paneled drawings. Composed from a variety of materials (shredded paper, crumbled cement, metal, wire and plaster), the sculptures emerge through an improvisational process of breaking down, exaggerating and manipulating pre-determined forms. Formally, the works bare witness to this quality of emergence, and appear to be suspended in a state of perpetual becoming.

Costello first gained recognition for her contribution to the landmark exhibition, Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, at The Hammer Museum in 2005, where she presented Portrait Gallery, a phalanx of busts that ranged from representational to abstract. These new works are less singular, preferring instead to establish new chains of reference between symbols, objects and history. Evoking a wide range of aesthetic forbearers, from Moche ceramics and Ingres’ nudes to tattooed limbs and stock graphics, the works move seamlessly between historical archetypes, cultural artifacts and personal invention. The work on view here, a bust, an apple, a lighting bolt, the letter u, grapes and glasses, repeating parrots and a woman’s leg, stand alone or in clusters atop a democracy of plinths, pedestals and tables.

Characteristically elusive and suggestive, they reveal a strong relationship not only to history but also to the body, memory and, in their own quiet way, enact an assault on monumentality and hierarchy. Costello’s accompanying wall drawings function both as discrete works and theatrical-style backdrops for the sculptures. Like contemporary Lascauxian symbols or modern-day hieroglyphics, these works frame and unify her sculptural configurations as much as they relate to them, providing an environment for an idiosyncratic medley of voices, forms and symbols.

Kate Costello lives in Los Angeles. She has shown at Galerie Ruzicska, Salzburg, in a two-person exhibition with Monique van Genderen; at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; at The Green Gallery at Yale University in Making Do – curated by Robert Storr and Sam Messer; and at Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles.
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