A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
March 9 - April 21
92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
- (718) 834-8761
Smack Mellon is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions, Katie Bell: A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place and Austin Ballard: Shadow Lake, opening concurrently on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Both artists create work inspired by the designed and built environment but adopt their own unique approaches. Katie Bell takes discarded and readymade objects to construct immense assemblages that match the industrial scale of Smack Mellon’s building. Austin Ballard, on the other hand, turns his focus onto household objects, specifically light fixtures and lampshades, to create a more intimate setting that resembles a suburban domestic interior. In both of these projects, however, the artists call attention to the way that architecture and design objects shape—whether dramatically or subtly—how we see and respond to the world.
Katie Bell is interested in revealing the residue of everyday life, employing objects that are soiled from use and disuse. For her work, she collects materials, such as old cabinets and columns, scavenged from dumpsters or scrap yards. These discards become the artist’s medium, creating new sculptural compositions by cutting, sawing, tying, stacking, and assembling the pieces together.
The sculptures in Bell’s site-specific installation, A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place, act as marks, strokes, and fields of color, creating a painting language in architectural scale. Smack Mellon’s industrial interior—24-foot-high wall, steel columns, and cement floor—serves as the support for this sculptural painting. The work is also inspired by the dramatic setting of the DUMBO neighborhood, including the dominant scale of its bridges, the East River, and the flotsam that washes up on its banks, where chunks of foam have been worn away to resemble gravel. Made up of found, manipulated, and crafted objects, Bell’s work questions what comprises our visual landscape and how the artificial is often disguised as natural to give it an aura of grandeur. Included are discarded hot tub fragments clad in faux marble and fake rocks from a department store window display. In this immense rubble, the artist imagines what future ruins might look like, an environment in which the natural and the fabricated have become so inextricably merged that stone, fiberglass, and plastic are no longer distinguishable from one another.