- May 10 - November 5, 2012
Using Greek Flokati carpets as a ground for a mix of pigments that range from brilliant to muddy, Anna Betbeze creates unexpectedly textural paintings that verge on the sculptural.
Cutting, tearing, and burning her wool supports with acid dyes (before machine-washing them), the artist creates a dynamic relationship between color-saturated forms and the negative space of the wall behind. Hung from simple nails, the transformed rugs sag and drape under the force of gravity, coming to rest gently on the floor. Conjuring associations as diverse as oriental carpets, the Minimalist felt sculptures of Robert Morris, and 1970s era woven wall hangings, these seductive, layered works offer an expanded take on abstract painting.
The new works made for MASS MoCA took as their inspiration an array of natural forms including mold, moss, foliage, fungus, rust, and rot. The cycles of decay and regeneration inherent in nature are echoed in Betbeze’s own process, which she has described as the death of one object and its rebirth as something new. This series also reflects the artist’s interest in the intersection of interior and exterior in architectural terms as well as in relation to the body. At this point of overlap, form and formlessness, the beautiful and the abject, come together in a sometimes jarring—yet fertile—combination.
In the artist’s words, her works are “sites for color and material transgressions.”
Anna Betbeze, Chamber, 2012
Watercolor and acid dyes on wool