Rebecca Smith: TarraWarra Catchment
New York-based artist Rebecca Smith’s tape wall drawings began as scale drawings for wall sculptures, rapidly developing into a body of site-specific works that have addressed a variety of themes. TarraWarra Catchment follows the artists previous whole-wall tape drawing installations realised in 1999 at Florence Lynch’s gallery in New York City, and in 2000 as part of the exhibition, From Rags to Riches, curated by Petra Bungert, in Tournai, Belgium.
Smith draws with tape by unspooling lengths of it directly onto walls twisting, tugging and bending it into shapes to tell the story of the specific site in which she is working. She explores her interest in site and mark-making, combining symbols and motifs from sources as diverse as shorthand, maps and diagrams to evoke her surrounds.
As the artist observes, while her large-scale tape drawings are gestural and closely related to sculptural form, rely implicitly upon Smith’s instinct for colour: ‘Tape operates as fused colour and form. Colour is too much ignored in art. Great sensitivity and sophistication can be developed in making and seeing colour, one of the great tools in the practice of communicating visually.’
Through these means, Smith’s work challenges our understanding of the world in which we live and the way in which we all superimpose a ‘mental map’ on our environs and use it to negotiate our way through both the physical and philosophical aspects of our lives.