The sculptures in this exhibition purposefully merge art with function – the artist refers to them as ‘faux-functional’. Raising the question of arts ‘role’ in the home while placing a specific focus on the interior and the physicality of sculpture, Raney demonstrates the necessity of maintaining a position in which to live and work by offering a practical, yet sincere solution to restricted space in an urban environment: How do we live with art and How is art affected by the limitation of space?
One can sit on the sculpture titled Ana Chair (2007), but it is awkward and uncomfortable. The pencil can be used, but it is purposefully top-heavy making it difficult to write, and the unusually large size of the pencil holder renders it restrictively cumbersome. With a nod to Jim Drain, Claus Oldenburg and Niki de Saint Phalle, Raney’s sculptures are lively, humorous arrangements that idiosyncratically combine representation and abstraction, blurring the line between function and frivolity. Detailed hand-stitching and ornate embroidery are intrinsic to Raney’s sculptural practice, and anthropomorphic shapes take form as these techniques are combined with unexpected materials such as ceramic, fiberglass, real muskrat fur (recycled from vintage coats on e-bay) and an array of colored fabrics.
Drawing inspiration from Japanese culture, Hannah Hoch and the Belgium cartoon Barbapapas, Raney’s solidly made sculptures and drawings morph in to unexpected shapes and characters. A working record player precariously rests atop an oddly shaped floor sculpture simply titled Record Player (2007); Raney has recorded her own song – a playful electronic track sung in Spanish – specifically for this exhibition, which visitors may play. Encouraging interaction while offering a solution - albeit somewhat uncompromising - to spatial alienation, Raney optimistically embraces the complications of living with and making art in a restricted space.
Rebeca Raney received a MFA from The School of Visual Arts, New York and a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island. Her work was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at Volta Show 04 / Sculpture Projects, Basel, Switzerland and recent group exhibitions include Greene Naftali, New York, curated by Josh Smith. Raney will have a solo exhibition at Mogadishni, Copenhagen, Denmark later this year. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.