TITLE: Monday Muse - Rebecca Medel
DATE: 1/03/2005 05:37:00 AM
Happy New Year! (How many times have you heard that already? Haha...)
As promised, I begin our year of Monday Muse's with an artist whose work crosses the line and calls us to question, "Is it art or craft?"
I have admired Rebecca Medel’s work for over a decade, but became particularly fascinated when in 1999 she was awarded a prestigious Pell Fellowship. Her work was highly publicized along the east coast during this time. By this point she had already received several NEA grants and participated in a number of European tapestry exhibits. So, clearly her background derives from traditional craft practices. How, then, does her work today so successfully transcend craft?
Creating layer upon layer of knotted linen (as here, above), she constructs complex geometric structures that appear both sturdy and fragile. Her work conjures Josef Albers, construction rebar, dreams, an infinite layering of stars in the sky… What do you think? What do you appreciate about her work and what does it inspire in you?
The piece above was last publicly exhibited at the 2003 SOFA Chicago show, where it was ultimately sold. It was constructed that year from fiber optic thread, linen, silver leaf liquid paint, and likely hundreds or thousands of knots. I chose this piece because this was my most memorable ‘moment’ with Rebecca’s work, at an earlier SOFA event where, overwhelmed with visual stimulus, I nearly jumped out of my skin on turning around and being confronted by her work. It was this mixture of my surprise and the weighty presence of her work that made that trip so wonderful. Among all the work I saw, Rebecca’s are the pieces I remember feeling.
I urge you to email me or post your comments here on Rebecca's work. While I realize I am posing simple questions that could easily be dismissed, I feel there also is a great deal of relevance in asking where we classify a piece or an artist’s entire life's work. After all, as much as we're going outside of this constraining box, there are many instances where relegating an artist as a craftsperson has resulted in their work gaining less critical recognition. What are your thoughts on this?