Artists: A - G: Kim Beck
My work reflects my conflicted fascination with place, displacement, movement and the built environment. I look at the eyesores, the blots on the landscape. Sometimes these things are ugly, avoided, overlooked, or literally stepped over, such as weeds in the sidewalk; sometimes they are ignored because of their ubiquity, such as garishly graphic sale banners or fast-food signs along the highway. Just as signs, billboards, weeds, new housing structures, cell phone towers or storage sheds grow up in multitudes, so too I use the multiple and process of repetition to reiterate their excess and invasion. By reframing, remaking or changing their context, they become relevant; shifted from the periphery, they become noticeable. For example, the silhouettes of weeds run amok gradually take over the pages of an artist’s book; an actual fully-functioning automatic sliding door is relocated to the middle of a park. These pieces raise questions about visibility, emptiness and accumulation as much as they do about suburban landscapes and the related concerns of power and class for the people who live and work in these spaces. My drawings and installations balance contempt for the commercialization and homogenization of the landscape with an appreciation for the awkwardness and surprising idiosyncrasy of these same spaces. In every parking lot there is a parking lot island with a badly pruned tree. Despite the asphalt, the tree is quirky and shows pluck. By drawing attention to these moments, my work brings the banal and everyday into focus.
Kim Beck received her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. She studied at Yale University’s Summer School of Art in Norfolk, and earned a Watson Fellowship for independent study in Europe, Australia, and Japan. Beck has had solo exhibitions at The High Line, New York, NY; Under New Management, Toronto, Canada and The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI. She has been included in group shows at PS 1 Contemporary Art, Long Island City, NY; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University, Boston, MA and Yale University School of Architecture, New Haven, CT.