Pretty piles

People The Arts

March 2, 2020

Hidell Brooks Gallery’s latest exhibition features new works by Selena Beaudry.

by Grace Cote

If you’re familiar with the work of Selena Beaudry, what probably comes to mind are the artist’s intricate stacked collages of cut and colored paper. Prepare to see a new version of Beaudry this month at Hidell Brooks Gallery: Her solo exhibition A Beautiful Mess explores the many ways she can incorporate materials and color into creative expression. Beaudry is the kind of artist who can take whatever is in front of her and make it into something that feels meaningful and intelligent. 

Beaudry, who has an MFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia, moved from Charlotte to London seven years ago. The show’s title is a reference to the artist’s studio, a creative hub of in-progress works and piles of discarded materials that, if lucky, will see a second life in new works. She pulls the mundane experiences of her daily life into her work. “It is a walk to the studio, being late because of traffic, getting caught in the rain and seeing a rainbow,” Beaudry says. “It is entering my studio and seeing paint pallets left over on the floor, using bags of fabric scraps, or cutting up a drawing to discover something new.” 

Many admirers know Beaudry from her stacked collages, which she says “came out of cutting up old drawings and not wanting to throw them away.” Compositionally, these works strike a balance between chaos and precision while expressing a recycler’s mentality: Take something forgotten, put away or discarded and find enough beauty to incorporate it into a new piece. This same spirit of reinvention is what guides Beaudry’s new exhibition. The work is centered around taking remnants and scraps then “remaking until the push/pull creates something that is enticing,” she says. 

The exhibition is composed of large paintings, small collages, a ceiling-hung installation and a series of sculptures called “Baubles in Boxes.” 

The large paintings are a conversation with line and color. Beaudry likes to create mood with color and also entice or encourage the other senses, sparking references to smell or sound. Purples, greens and blues are featured prominently. While these colors are often associated with calm and serenity, the line work into which Beaudry forces them brings a bright energy. 

“Baubles in Boxes” are colorful sculptures made from paint scraps left over from creating large paintings. The dried, crumpled pieces are stacked and arranged in glossy mounds. 

These same dried paint elements are mixed with cut paper and fabric remnants in her new collage series on view. The result is messier, looser and more complex than the stacked collages for which she is known. Beaudry considers this an organic next step. 

“I think of this work in the same way I think of my paper collages and piles, just made exploring a new medium.”   SP

WANT TO GO? A Beautiful Mess will be on view from March 6-28 with an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. on  March 6. Hidell Brooks Gallery, Steel Yard in South End, 1910 South Blvd, Suite 130.

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