Sculpture Magazine Review

Sculpture Magazine Review
July / August 2000

Sybaris Gallery
Royal Oak, MI
By Gerry Craig

How might emotions under the surface look when straining to become exterior reality, not verbalized but present in shared space? In her recent exhibition at the Sybaris Gallery, Carrie Seid gives us some potential answers to this question, while posing still more. Her translucent and reflective wall constructions possess a dimension of gaseous, vaporous space, held within a taut skin of silk stretched over painted plywood and perpendicular strips of copper, which give them volume. The physical description reduces their ephemeral qualities unjustly, failing to re-create the diaphanous veils of melting color, fusing from one space to the next. Simultaneity of resilience and vulnerability is created through the metal and membranes, like scars emerging from the interior of a cloud.

The exhibition does not suffer by having two distinct bodies of work, as the progression demonstrates a transition without losing clarity of purpose. The older work is characterized by organic shapes, which call to mind treasures discovered in nature. Seid states that her “approach to sculpture reflects the progression and transformation seen in natural growth systems such as the chambered nautilus, which leaves an ordered record of its development, organic yet regular in its design. The work captures the evanescent, while at the same time showing that which is emerging to take its place.” These works have a wax finish, creating a gloss over the silk that makes it have greater transparency and causes it to shrink slightly so that the fabric becomes more like skin over a skeletal structure. The pressure of the membrane against the metal edge defines the raised interior forms, creating vessels where light is played out in a saturation of feeling.

Seid has left a record of her own artistic development as her work evolved into rectangular squares referencing pages from a book. These more restrained works imply that the saturation of feeling has been sublimated into temporary dormancy, or perhaps they indicate elusive dream states in which emotion is present but muted. The change from shaped forms, which feel like organic vessels, to the standard square format turns the condition of interior space inside out, a narrative of reduction, a vessel which has been skinned to reveal the interior.

The linear form created by the stitches becomes a drawn line of volume, a voluptuous scarred strain against silk. Copper in abbreviated lines/dashes/stitches forms the three-dimensional drawing in which the image has a frontal graphic quality that alters from a side perspective into surging forms, which move forward and recede in the veiled space. Those works that have the depth and variance to create soft surface shadow forms are the richest. It is as if the surface shadows were light turning back on itself, curling like smoke within both the contained space and back over the surface. These works honor the tradition of sculpture as three-dimensional real time/ real space, but flirt deliciously with the illusionist world of painting- a standard square, mounted to the wall, fabric (silk instead of canvas) wrapped around the edge- but here the illusion is created from actual material and space and from shadows.

Painting and sculpture are too categorically limited for the emotional states of being that Seid so elegantly conjures up. Smoke and shadow, dissipation and loss, energy and anatomy- these physical references bring us closer to the ineffable life forces at the core of these mysterious assemblages.