Ideal Cities

"Under Development" Kim Beck solo exhibition at Mixed Greens

When it comes to the work of Kim Beck, expect to be fully enveloped by the environments she creates, through the power of her imagery and the very real spaces she forms. Worlds are drawn, sculpted, printed, installed, and even scattered outdoors. This artist utilizes a variety of mediums to allow herself and viewers to encounter our seemingly mundane surroundings with a fresh perspective.

Landscape Futures (2011) installation view at Mixed Greens, New York, NY, Kim Beck

“My work surveys peripheral spaces,” Beck explains, “bringing the banal and everyday landscapes into focus. It is an exploration of change in natural and built environments that are full of everyday weeds, lawns, billboards and half‐finished architectural structures. Such silhouettes create mutated landscapes— alien‐but‐familiar spaces in a continuous state of flux.”

In her exhibition entitled “Under Development,” Beck presents this notion of environmental flux through intricately cutout and carefully placed media. Viewers are particularly welcomed into the array by way of her massive drawings. She writes:

“In the large works on paper, lines form piles of lumber, ladders, windows, and structural beams. The scale of the drawings invites viewers to imagine entering a construction site, but one that is unstable and impossible. Spaces are at once exterior and interior, with infinite additions and subtractions and cutouts in the paper itself; the simultaneous building and destroying of the images suggests either an optimism underlying destruction.”

Under Construction (installation shot 2011), found sawhorses, ladders, lumber, and paint, dimensions variable, Kim Beck

Beck’s interest in our material surroundings does not stop with the category of man‐made structures, but also encompasses the facets of our natural environment. At times, she toys with modes of revealing humanity’s impact on the environment. Other times, her pieces simply and beautifully call for a re‐examination of the earth and its processes of life, growth, and decay.

“My work,” Beck reiterates, “reflects the imposition of the human influence on the land, questioning ways land is constructed, changed, understood. My drawings are meditations on the structures and surfaces in the landscape; where a pothole in the road jolts the traveler into seeing the landscape anew, the process of drawing it is a meditation on erosion and change. By looking closely at potholes, signs or weeds, the process of drawing, print and installation allows me to contemplate and see afresh the very subjects that can irritate or jar me from experiencing the natural world even within the confines of a city or suburb. What was once a banal eyesore becomes something worthy of notice.”

Under Construction (2011), graphite and charcoal on paper, 96″ x 72″, Kim Beck

A Great Piece of Turf (2011), graphite on paper, 78.25″ x 109″, Kim Beck

Under Development (2011), graphite and charcoal on paper with cutouts, 71.5″ x 96″, Kim Beck

Potholes (2015‐16), bronze, dimensions variable, Kim Beck

Potholes (2015‐16), bronze, dimensions variable, Kim Beck

NOTICE: A Flock of Signs (detail 2013), paint on plywood and posts, dimensions variable, Kim Beck

NOTICE: A Flock of Signs (installation 2013), 100 Acres Park at Indianapolis Museum of Art, paint on plywood and posts, dimensions variable, Kim Beck

Pages from A Field Guide to Weeds (2007), ink on 19th century pocket guide, Kim Beck. Print reproductions of the artist book may be purchased at: idealcities.com

Pages from A Field Guide to Weeds (2007), ink on 19th century pocket guide, Kim Beck. Print reproductions of the artist book may be purchased at: idealcities.com

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