by Richard Speer
Raine Bedsole continues her career-long celebration of nature in a new body of work inspired by her recent travels to Greece and Cuba. The intense hues of the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, as well as the “Havana Blue” found in Cuban architecture, have found their way into the artist’s serenely minimal color palette. Highly regarded for her sculptures, mixed-media paintings, and works on paper, Bedsole has created a compositionally and thematically nuanced suite of works that reference the branching of trees and corals, incorporating materials that allude to the personal narratives that shape our lives.
Growing up in the pine-covered landscape of coastal south Alabama, where her family has lived for generations, Bedsole found a deep and lasting appreciation for nature. Today, that sense of reverence is evident across the gamut of her artistic output. In works based in sculpture, collage, and watercolor, she often employs maps, letters, books, and antique fabrics, interweaving layers of meaning and turning each piece into a tapestry of old and new, individual and universal. The undersea imagery in her coral-based pieces, for example, began as a response to the historic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These forms superimpose sheer visual beauty atop deeper reminders of the Gulf’s unseen but vitally important ecosystems.
The recipient of a prestigious grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and significant public art commissions, Bedsole has exhibited her work to popular and critical acclaim throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. In addition to the coral-based pieces and her familiar boat and oar sculptures, this exhibition debuts a new series of ephemeral sculptures based on the form of a “floating house.” In these sculptures—and throughout this hauntingly beautiful, emotionally affecting body of work—Bedsole marries material virtuosity with an uncommon sensitivity to symbolism and the power of natural form.