Ross Palmer Beecher | Painted Assemblage
Ross Palmer Beecher creates work based on a personal lexicon of images that are highly symbolic and often mysterious. While her combination of materials can seem dizzying, she is nevertheless able to focus her work on compositional elements and political themes more than purely material concerns. The source for much of Beecher's imagery is easily identified in her New England upbringing and the inevitable exposure to American history, local folklore and traditional art forms which are so important to that region. These impressions of folk tales, patriotic history and early American art have merged with her more contemporary observations on the world. Living in the Northwest, as she has for the last 15 years, Beecher embodies an artistic vision which is quite different from her peers. With the exception of Native American arts and culture, there is no identifiable set of traditions to most of the artwork produced in Seattle. Beecher has been successful at staying true to her heritage.
This sculpture was created for homage to her departed four-legged friend Nina. She utilized a collection of bottle caps and delicate beads which loop around the caps and central skull (this is not her dog's skull) to make a fancy "lace" edge, similar to vintage Victorian funereal wreaths.
A pair of life-size leg models are again constructed of sheet metal, but are here festooned with reflector parts, black vinyl edging, and bottle caps. Two penises have been built from wire mesh and beer cans, both with rock testicles. A silver heart reveals itself to be cut from license plates, the ventricles made from metal painted in red and blue. A set of purple and blue kidneys is sewn from painted vinyl, with vessels made of colored tin, while a brain is fashioned from a collage of beer can flip top tabs which frame familiar cartoon characters drawn by Beecher. Another brain made from wire mesh has been emblazoned with small rocks encased in bottle caps, like lumpy nodes.
Beecher was born in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1957 and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. She moved to Seattle in 1979 and has been represented by the Greg Kucera Gallery since 1984. Beecher has created public artworks for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Vashon Island landfill and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She is also the recipient of a Seattle Arts Commission's Artist in the City Grant in 1995 and 1997. Beecher is the recipient of the Seattle Art Museum's 2002 Betty Bowen Artist Award. Her work was included in Hero/Anti-Hero at the Seattle Art Museum.