Betty Woodman, "Wallpaper 16," 2017: STAFF PICKS

L to R: Betty Woodman. "Wallpaper 16," 2017. 112 x 209 x 1 in. Glazed earthenware, epoxy resin, lacquer, acrylic paint / Images 2-4: Various wall relief components and templates created by Betty Woodman / Ryan Brady with Betty Woodman’s “Wallpaper 9,” 2015. Variable dimensions. Glazed earthenware, epoxy resin, lacquer, acrylic paint.


Ryan Brady, Collections Manager

Betty Woodman was an artist whose pragmatism seemingly stood in contrast to the loose comfort of her artistic style, but those of us who knew her well understood this sensibility as an asset to her prolific output. She kept things. Her Wallpaper pieces, which I had the privilege of closely working with her on during my time as her studio assistant from 2011 until her passing in 2018, resulted from her instinct to put all her materials to use.

As she cut clay forms to implement in her sculptures and paintings, fragmented remnants mirroring the curves of her vases came into existence. After substantial accumulation, these thin, reaching gestures of chance were spread across her studio floor to be composed into a dance of lightness. Musical, lyrical, spry, these wall relief sculptures achieve an exuberant, playful openness despite their often-large scale. Pictured here is “Wallpaper 16” from 2017, one of the later pieces I was fortunate enough to assist her in making.

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