In her exhibition at Metro Pictures, Sara VanDerBeek presents large complexly colored abstract photographs alongside minimal, totemic sculptures made of pigmented concrete and painted plaster and wood. Intensifying her approach to color and pattern, VanDerBeek draws from the improvisational yet ordered compositions of American quilts, Pre-Colombian textiles and ceramics, as well as modernist textiles and weaving. VanDerBeek uses these elements to consider the historically feminist dialectic of “women’s work” and creative traditions associated with the term.
The compositions in VanDerBeek’s photographs comprise layered images of her own geometric plaster sculptures and their shadows. Photographing these simple white primary forms outdoors against a white background to exploit shifting angles of light, VanDerBeek then layers these images multiple times during the printing process to make larger patterns of projected and receding space. The final colors within the images are rendered by an amalgam of digital and chromogenic printing processes.
For this work, her research brought her to numerous North and South American practitioners and collections. This included reviewing pieces by female members of the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop and research trips to the archive of Anni Albers in Connecticut, Casa del Alabado – Museo de Arte Precolombino in Quito, Ecuador and the Dunton Quilting Collection at The Baltimore Museum of Art.