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Sara VanDerBeek at Metro Pictures: Pieced Quilts and Wrapped Forms

Art Scene

Sara VanDerBeek at Metro Pictures: Pieced Quilts and Wrapped Forms

Taking cues from the cosmos and perhaps sacred geometry, Sara VanDerBeek’s latest explorations into the realm of abstract photography have spilled over into sculpture and riffs on American quilts, Pre-Colombian textiles and ceramics, and modernist textiles and weaving.

In her current exhibition at Metro Pictures, Pieced Quilts and Wrapped Forms, VanDerBeek’s go-to color palette of lavender, purple, violet, magenta and white is a primary player in examining “women’s work” and creative traditional art forms from a feminist perspective.


Photo Credit: Anders Jones

Archival research on weaving, quilt making and Pre-Colombian art that involved travel to North and South America resulted in a multi-step process of photo making. Geometric plaster sculptures made by VanDerBeek were first photographed in front of a white backdrop under natural light to take advantage of various shadow formations under an evolving sky.


Photo Credit: Anders Jones

The images were then digitally manipulated and layered to create orderly yet sublime abstracts. Finally, during VanDerBeek’s one-of-a-kind mix of analog and digital printing, her signature color palette unfolded in a variety of large-scale images.

Several pieces surrounding the viewer upon entrance create a particular sensory oasis of sunrise, sunset, and twilight hues. Subtle ombre and kaleidoscope color arrangements require a furtive glance or deep stare to render distinctions in tone; similar to the last few seconds of a night sky as it enters dawn.


Photo Credit: Anders Jones

In the image, Eternal Triangle, Dusk, a diptych, digitally manipulated shadows make an angled linear cascading pattern. Each image in the pair, at 96 7/8 x 48 7/8 inches, includes two digital C-prints layered within their respective frames.

Made of pigmented concrete with color quartz, a complementary sculpture, also titled Eternal Triangle, spills across the floor nearby. Its zigzag feel echoes the diptych and speaks of two takes on one color palette and light/shadow relationship.


Photo Credit: Anders Jones

A rare inquiry into the shape of a circle, or curve, is gorgeously rendered in the image Japanese Fan, which carries a night sky quality with its deep two-tone violet color play.

In a second recently renovated room in the rear of the gallery, skylights activate the space housing a multitude of VanDerBeek’s sculptural creations, mostly in white. Depending on the time of day and weather, the work takes on a different feel, adding to the unmediated uniqueness of the viewing experience in this exhibition.


Photo Credit: Anders Jones

With titles like Prism; Octagon Star; Temple; Moon and Sun, as well as, Baltimore Steps; Quilt Collage I and Neo-Classical, the breadth, depth and contemplation of the meandering mind behind this work is evident. That same flexibility of mind is also required of viewers in order to indulge the deeply satisfying otherworldly sentiment animating VanDerBeek’s work.


Sara VanDerBeek: Pieced Quilts and Wrapped Forms

Metro Pictures

519 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10010

Through October 29th, 2016

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