Sarah Bostwick: Gregory Lind Gallery

By Helfand, Glen | Artforum International, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Sarah Bostwick: Gregory Lind Gallery


Helfand, Glen, Artforum International


The nine sculptural reliefs, or "inlaid drawings," of architectural fragments that Sarah Bostwick exhibited recently are closely observed and strikingly composed. Each work in Bostwick's "Grand Apartment" resembles a chunk of facade or interior wall seemingly extracted from its original site. Most are smooth white rectangular slabs of Hydrocal or wallboard that, from a distance, exude a minimalist purity. But on closer inspection, the artist's hand is clearly evident in the range of intricate carving, etching, and inlaying on display.

A number of these works depict the elaborate skeletons and skins of characterful buildings--in the case of 3261 23rd Street at Capp, 2006, for instance, the curved moldings that accent a bay window. Bostwick thus creates spaces that no longer form cohesive physical structures or provide the psychological comfort attributed to, say, a bedroom. In fact, there's more than a hint of Victorian melancholy to her project. Rosette, 2006, reproduces a portion of Bostwick's own New York studio--mostly taken from the ornately decorated ceiling--as seen from a low angle. Within the composition's square format, she shows an area of the ceiling, its parallel cornices forming a U shape, and incorporates layers of ornament that contribute to an illusion of dimensional space. Most of the piece is delicately inscribed, save for its upper right corner, in which a decorative element is more emphatically carved. The depth of this passage contrasts with the shallow cornice furrows, suggesting a sensitivity to the limits of the handmade.

While the white Hydrocal or wallboard sometimes suggest soap, other materials used--plastic, plaster, slate, hardwood, and ivory--are not so easily tamed, and surface markings convey the struggle involved in shaping them. …

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