ON VIEW JUNE 8, 2021
This trio of sculptures suggests human bodies in various stages of formation, inviting the viewer to imagine themselves throwing their limbs in similarly exaggerated poses. While missing heads and limbs, these figures are recognizable by hints of the body, such as a bent knee or defined torso. Inspired by intersectional feminist writer bell hooks, ancient Greek philosopher Plato, and fashion icon Grace Jones, Bianca Beck’s sculptures exist in their own queer domain– refusing to be relegated to a specific gender or sexual expression. They were inspired by the origin myth of love and sexuality written in Plato’s Symposium. In it, Aristophanes describes humans from primeval times who were originally created in duplicate with two heads, two pairs of limbs, and two sets of genitalia. Zeus feared their power and separated them into two halves who would be forever in search of their missing part. Beck’s sculptures formally suggest various points from this myth, such as two figures conjoined by their arms and legs, forever dancing with one another.
The sculptures radiate energy and awkwardness, with poses punctuated by electric coloring and imposing height. They recall the sculpture of French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, specifically her Nanas from the 1960s into the early 2000s. With their bright colors and jubilant positions, both artists imbue their larger-than-life sculptures with overt joie de vivre to buoyantly rebel against dominant patriarchal forces in the field of sculpture and society.
Beck earned a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA and an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. She has shown her work at Opelvillen Rüsselsheim, Rüsselsheim, Germany; V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; the FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; and White Columns, New York, NY; among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Dallas Art Museum, Dallas, TX. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships including the Helen Winternitz Award for Excellence in Painting at Yale University; The Ox-Bow School of Art Fellowship Program, Saugatuck, MI; and Artist-in-Residence at Complimenta, Ithaca, NY.