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“Flip”

Like the Spice
2008-03-04

Who would have thought that Rachel Beach’s architectonic reliefs and Nora Herting’s rollicking cheerleaders would make such a lovely couple? Evidently the good eyes at Like the Spice did, and, boy, were they right. Beach and Herting both take a reductive approach to their respective subjects, but rather than boiling the flavor out of them, they’ve distilled their complexities into singular, powerful ids. Beach’s sculptures, with their arresting silhouettes and precious interiors, are descendents of architectural design motifs – moldings, cornices, banisters, and the like – but they have evolved into sensual, almost living, creatures, with luscious contours and richly pigmented skins. Herting’s happy body clusters are reverse engineered. Aggregated figures and parts of figures that started as players in choreographed routines are here removed from their former public lives and presented as symbols or schematics of interaction frozen against static patterns. The effect is monumentalizing in a way: cheerful leapers take on the gravity of war memorials. But like Beach’s, her process too concentrates the vitality of a big theme into highly enriched little morsels, gobble-able in an instant but packed with sustenance. Taken together these artists offer a ravishing spectrum of animate form.

—Rodger Stevens
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