Carol Bove is an artist who exhibits mastery over a wide range of materials including steel, driftwood, peacock feathers and I-beams, and transforms them into conceptual assemblage artworks and sculptures. Her notable achievements creating supersized steel sculptures amidst the male-dominated world of heavy-metal sculptors earned her the title of 'Sculpture's Woman of Steel', so dubbed by The New York Times in 2016.Read More
Born in 1971 in Geneva to American parents, Carol Bove was raised in Berkeley, California, before she moved to New York and graduated from New York University in 2000. She first became notable for clean and Minimalist assemblages of multiple found objects. In her earlier work Adventures in Poetry (2002), the artist curated 29 books and nine periodicals from or in emulation of the 1960s and 1970s, sparsely placed on three minimally adorned wood shelves, sometimes closed, sometimes open to double-page spreads of monochromatic photographs. The framing and displaying of things was the recurring theme in her artworks, as she arranged and preserved books and objects in their original states in the shelf installations without hegemonising them. Since 2005, she had been using natural materials more often alongside found objects. In Triguna (2012) and Heraclitus (2014), for example, she transformed a diverse range of materials including seashells, feathers, and found objects into delicate sculptures supported by lean, welded frames.
Despite earning critical acclaim for her elegant, minimalistic artwork, Bove continued to seek new inspirations. From 2013 to 2014, she displayed seven site-specific, large-scale sculptures for the exhibition titled Caterpillar at High Line at the Rail Yards in New York. The ensemble comprised of rustic I-beams protruding vertically from the railed ground, such as A Glyph (2013) and Cow Watched by Argus (2013), contrasted with the artist's iconic smooth tubular sculptures such as Celeste (2013). In 2016, in relation to developments in her work, Bove told W magazine that she wanted to 'open up' and 'see something that's actually kind of garish and tacky'. In the former Brooklyn brick factory she took on as her new studio in the same year, the artist began to manipulate large metal pieces with the help of an enormous overhead gantry. 'Not even the big work is prefigured by a drawing', she said in a conversation with Wallpaper* in 2018.
The metal sculptures showcased in Bove's solo exhibition Polka Dots at David Zwirner, New York, in 2016 were some of her more ambitious works. The giant tube-like sculpture From the Sun to Zurich (2016) was more than five metres wide, and the vividly coloured work First Blue Column (2016) measured up to more than 2.6 metres in height. Twisted and scrunched, the stainless steel was imbued with a malleable quality that almost felt like drapery.
Carol Bove's artworks are often displayed in open spaces. In 2017, her large-scale sculptures were installed in The Contemporary Austin's Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, and presented in the courtyard of the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Collections that feature her works include The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston.
Chelsea Ma | Ocula | 2019
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