at Jeannie Freilich
Rebecca Smith at Jeannie Freilich
by Jennifer Riley , April 19, 2007
Rebecca Smith's modestly scaled "Blue Cage" sculptures are a counterpoint to Mr. Lasker's heroically scaled paintings, yet they share conceptual and aesthetic considerations.
Ms. Smith's nine sculptures are currently installed on the immaculate walls of Jeannie Freilich's gallery. The works range in size between 17 by 15 by 1 1/4 inches and 62 by 84 by 9 inches, and are assembled from 1-and- 1/2-inch-wide flat steel bars. Each piece is painted in a different monochrome shade of blue and titled after glaciers. Ms. Smith attached the work to the middle and upper portions of the walls, where the lighting increases the role of the cast shadows' interplay with the steel lines.
The sculptures share a grid-like "window guard" structure at the base, that appears to have morphed and changed with each work. The diagrammatic nature of the work recalls urban street plans, architectural framework, glyphs, crosses, stick figures, and so on, but they resist single fixed identities. Careful viewing allows us to follow a seemingly playful working process, where no-fuss welds join this length here and that one there, lending the work a refreshing journeyman-like quality.
"Sarachal Glacier, Iran" (2006) is a bright, sky blue grid, whose overall triangular shape recalls a fragmented urban plan or layers of stylized Arabic characters. What at first appear to be few elemental moves and material manipulations are in fact, many carefully orchestrated decisions. Ms. Smith constructs interwoven grids, adding a short length of steel here, or a long twist there. It's easy to overlook the individual choices, because it all feels necessary.
Ms. Smith's work is apparently abstract, but her motivations and concerns seem to come right out of our messy world. With their glacial titles, these works can be seen as core samples taken from the earth and examined under a powerful lens, where each microcosm remains tense with beauty.