This month in New York, 303 Gallery presents Arms Folded and Unfolded, its fourth exhibition of new work by artist Eva Rothschild. Continuing and expanding her engagement with three-dimensional forms, spatial investigations and the subtle lines between aesthetic and utilitarian values, the artist’s work here is a striking extension of an already expansive body of work.
In Arms Folded and Unfolded, the artist also expands her engagement with episodic form, which is fundamental to her open-ended and dynamic approach to sculpting. These new works depart from the geometric vocabulary of earlier pieces and move towards a looser, more intimate expression of form. Illusionistic, directional color both guides and disorients the eye; they are designed to confuse and commune. They are directly sculptural and are not stand-ins or ciphers. Each sculpture makes us aware of ourselves and our relationship to the objects in the room and seeks to champion direct lived experience and active engagement with the art object in real time. Fittingly, the title describes the act of settling and rearranging one’s body to find equilibrium or ease. In Rothschild’s work, the phrase serves as an intimate and uncomplicated reminder that once changed, things never return to how they were. A series of gessoed pieces directly enact this folding and unfolding, twisting and spiraling through heaps and clusters of material that underscore the artist’s interest and interrogation of the materiality and structure of her pieces.
The exhibition is envisaged as a sculpture garden visited early one morning. Formal, almost classical, fluted elements wind and contort on a loosely human scale in a series of works; each sculpture offering a unique manifestation of the same materiality. Other pieces are carved from polystyrene, cast in bronze or fibre glass, then spray painted, with a distinctly urban feel, they rise above the viewer. Stacked, totemic forms relating to both the human body and architecture, inducing a conflicted sense of both recognition and unfamiliarity. Throughout. Rothschild seems to mine a dialogue between detritus and craftsmanship, the materials both emphasizing their shared elements with scrap material, while simultaneously twisting these elements up into new arrangements.
The show closes May 25th.
– D. Creahan
Eva Rothschild at 303 Gallery [Exhibition Site]