I mentioned this exhibit on my blog yesterday but needed to have an excuse to further research the work of Anna Betbeze. She currently has an exhibit up at Kate Werble Gallery in NY and I cannot wait to check it out.
Anna is a young artist, under 35, originally from Alabama who went through the prestigious art program at Yale to end up as a working artist here in Brooklyn. Her work takes Flokati Rugs, think wool & shaggy, and she then dyes, beats, burns, and rips the work until it becomes a gorgeous but deconstructed skin of texture.
In a way her work is unclear, I remain unsure as what to take from it and her specific choice of canvas but in the end they are gorgeous abstract objects that have a more textural and therefore physical experience then most works of this style.
(The shows title, Moss Garden) refer to Michel Foucault, who lectured that “the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” Fortunately the artworks don’t take themselves as seriously; they have a wonderfully forlorn, abject quality that inspires more empathy than theory.
I love the reference to the Foucault quote but do not agree that these works do not take themselves seriously, I feel that the “forlorn” quality is the “seriousness” of the work and though very abstract they also must be incredibly textural and through the process quite distressed and overworked.
I cannot help but wonder what the role of that deconstruction is… I feel that if an artist is choosing to take something and then in essence destroy it to make something new that there must be intention behind this act and I am curious to what Anna’s intention is.
Visually these works intrigue and satisfy, conceptually I still have questions and have much more ambiguous feelings but needless to say I cannot wait to head to the city and see them myself this weekend.
It would make a great day to see this show on the same trip.
Read another thoughtful review here.
Until next time keep your needle threaded.
Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.