Things are hotting up for young American artist Rebecca Ward, a recent graduate of New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts MFA. And I can see why. I find her work structured and controlled, and destructive and random, all at the same time. It is absorbing and involving, you want to know more. And she is being noticed. During her studies in 2011 she was selected by curator Marilyn Minter for the inaugural show at Maurizio Cattelan’s new space in New York; and she has completed commissions for Stella McCartney and Centre 548 in New York. Now she has her first solo show in London, curated by Artnesia at Ronchini Gallery.
Ward describes her works as paintings, but she trained as a sculptor and it is her questioning of painting and experimentation with the painted surface that I find so interesting. Talking to her at the opening of her new show Cow Tipping at Ronchini, she described how she creates her works. She rarely uses a brush; she uses media such as fabric dye, acrylic and spray paint to colour the canvas; she uses bleach to remove the colour and sometimes leaves the bleach to eat into and break up the surface. And then she removes threads from the canvas, meticulously, to create formal works out of the random experimentation on the canvas.
There is an absorbing mystery as to how she achieves this. Even when you know how she does it, there is a quiet fascination with what feels like deconstructed colour field painting, drawing you into an expansive space. I liked her more monochrome works best and I am excited to see what she does next.
Ward is completing a residency in Italy at the former atelier of Alighiero Boetti this spring.
Rebecca Ward ££
Radar is written from a collecting perspective and features work by new and emerging artists whose work I’ve seen or am following. The majority of artists’ works are in the £100-£20,000 range. £ £10-£5,000; ££ up to £10,000 £££ up to £15,000; ££££ up to £20,000