Nicelle Beauchene is pleased to present Fresco, an exhibition by Ruby Sky Stiler at Third Floor, the gallery’s off-site project space. Many of the works on view were created during Stiler’s fellowship at the Saint-Gaudens Memorial in Cornish, New Hampshire last year.
Throughout her multifaceted practice, Stiler pulls references from Greco-Roman antiquity, Art Deco illustrations, and the varied dialects of twentieth-century abstraction. Her sculpture and wall based works often take shape as archaeological reconstructions; female and male nudes, amphorae, and mosaic patterning are all repeating motifs. Though much of the artist’s visual language is rooted in the ancient past, Stiler’s use of materials is distinctly modern: she often incorporates plaster, paper, acrylic resin, glue, graphite, stained wood, and air brush into her work.
In Fresco, Stiler reimagines the possibilities of an ancient technique; some of the earliest examples of buon fresco were found in Crete during the Bronze Age (3300-1200 B.C.). Created throughout antiquity, the fresco method was also prominently used during the Italian Renaissance and in Mexican Muralism in the 1920s. Traditionally constructed with wet lime plaster, Stiler has modified the traditional method and instead uses acrylic resin as a substrate. The graphite line drawings and pigment are transferred from a vellum sheet, which cures into the resin as it dries.
The nature of her materials requires Stiler to work quickly and each fresco acts as a page of a sketchbook. Scenes that take shape are reminiscent of illustrated vintage Vogue covers, Ancient Greek pottery decoration, or Weimar era Cabaret posters. Using a pastel palette of pink, green, yellow, and purple, figures appear nude or draped in cloth, often set on color-washed backgrounds with plants, columns, or text. Inspired by the sculpted reliefs and intricately carved wood frames at the Saint-Gaudens Memorial, some of the frescos include intricately carved frames, which become extensions of the work. In Fresco, Stiler weaves together old and new, by using traditional, canonized processes and accessible, contemporary materials, creating a body of work that establishes a tension between high and low, past and present.
Ruby Sky Stiler has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Locust Projects, Miami, FL; The Suburban, Oak Park, IL; and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR. She was included in significant group exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, New York, The Berman Museum, PA, and The Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton, New York, among many other venues. A solo exhibition and monograph is planned in 2020, starting at the Fairfield University Art Museum, CT and traveling to the The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA from Yale University. Stiler lives and works in Brooklyn.
Third Floor, our off-site project space, is open by appointment only. Please contact email@example.com for further information.