Text and photos by Clare Gemima
Paige Beeber’s Farbe
Freight + Volume Gallery, 97 Allen St.
Freight + Volume Gallery is a space I regularly walk past, but it wasn’t until seeing Paige Beeber’s large scale paintings that I had wanted to ring their doorbell for a tour.
I had initially thought these were oversized textiles. Crazy in composition and almost panicked in their abstraction, as I drew closer to Beeber’s mixed-media canvases, a clear and painterly dialogue seeped through her strategically applied pallet of wet media, paint and found objects instead.
Ink splotted, cross-hatched and heavily patterned, what I enjoyed most about this show was how reminiscent of a studio scene these works exuded. It was almost as if all the paintings had kicked up a fuss about being transported to the gallery. It is immediately clear from their proud experimentalism that every work has a life of its own. Farbe (German for color ) felt like it was incredibly fun to put together and is an evocative showcasing of Beeber’s vibrancy and growing talent.
Beeber’s works operate as frames of time, snapshots of external and internal circumstances articulated and crafted by the artist. She has investigated ideas like order and chaos, which can be seen on her canvases through controlled, more orderly mark-making amongst the more frenzied and fluid gestures. The draw to these works is found within their multitudinous layers. Countless mark-making techniques that have managed to survive within the constraints of a canvas —how she has not run out of room I do not quite understand.
What Beeber’s work does successfully is a call for contemplation from her viewer, as there is simply too much to comprehend from one glance.
The scale of these works aid in this as well. As each work in the gallery towers over you, they demand some kind of attention and calculation — are they puzzles? A game of snakes and ladders? Painted knitting swatches? It is definitely not a case of what you see is what you get.
Aside from the brilliant choice in showcasing Beeber’s paintings, I learned that Freight and Volume publish beautifully designed catalogs for each of their exhibitions. For a gallery that is dedicated to providing opportunities for emerging visual artists, an incredibly unique resource such as this — so kindly extended to their artists — is rare enough to be highlighted.
Paige Beeber’s Farbe at Freight + Volume Gallery will be on view until Feb. 21.
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Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: claregemima.com
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