Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present a show of new work by Ruby Sky Stiler. For her third solo exhibition at the gallery, Stiler continues her sculptural engagement with the iconic female form and its manifestation in a number of art-historical contexts, including, particularly, the varied dialects of twentieth century abstraction. The artist employs both conventional and everyday materials to create a body of work that mines a productive tension between high and low, the monumental and the prop-like, as well as the geometric and the organic.
The centerpiece of the show is the titular Seated Woman, which is carved in relief out of foam, and stands an impressive 10 feet tall and nearly 9 feet long. The sculpture’s material façade immediately brings to mind the milky-gray patina of marble, but this impression collapses on closer look, once we note the literal mark of the artist’s hand on the work’s surface, which she used to pat resin into place. The undermining of the work’s perceived grandness via the revelation of its relatively facile, at-hand creative process and DIY construction materials blurs the line between sculpture and set–decoration, between elevated art and skillful practicality. The piece also defies the viewer’s expectations in its merging of the organically figurative and the rigorously minimalist. Bringing together the theatrical, awesome heaviness of, say, a Carl Andre object with sculptural cues that bring to mind Picasso’s modernist concrete monuments or even Matisse’s whimsical line, Stiler nimbly shifts gears between a variety of references, ultimately forging her own sculptural language along the way.
The sculpture’s macho, almost defiant size, in tension with the feminine subject matter—not to mention its female author—is scaled down in a series of smaller reliefs, for which Stiler used errant scraps of material left over from her seated nude, among other odds and ends that are detritus of her ongoing studio practice. Zeroing in on abstract forms that can be taken as parts of the larger figurative scheme in the seated nude, the reliefs highlight Stiler’s capable hand as well as her precise control of the work’s formal rhythms. Carved into, collaged, pasted and written on, the wall works create meaning out of incidental marks, and provide an additional context through which to view Stiler’s generative process.
Ruby Sky Stiler has exhibited her work at The Suburban, Oak Park, IL, SAKS, Geneva, Derek Eller Gallery, New York, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, New York, and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, among many other venues. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA from Yale. She lives and works in Brooklyn.