Charlotte-based contemporary artist Selena Beaudry examines what it means to make artistic noise in her newest exhibit, Bips, Babbles and Screams at Hidell Brooks Gallery. Opening on July 13 and running through Aug. 31, the showcase features three segments — piles, collages and oil paintings — inspiring to one another. The piles are three dimensional collections of clippings from Beaudry's paintings that are organized by color and displayed in a matrix on the wall, while the collages are combinations of cut paper, acrylic, watercolor, pencil and sharpie. For the large oil paintings, Beaudry traces her cut paper and paints intricate patterns somewhat resembling the perceptive twists of M.C. Escher's works. Bips, Babbles and Screams explores what the marks in Beaudry's artwork mean, using shapes and colors to express a series of soundscapes. Creative Loafing met with Beaudry at the gallery to discuss the meaning behind her work and its interconnectedness.
Creative Loafing: How are your paintings, piles and collages connected?
Selena Beaudry: I started cutting up the drawings, and it started to expand my idea of mark making and the idea of what a drawing or a painting could be. After doing that large installation where I separated all of them — one was the paper cut out, one was the painting of the paper traced and one was the tracing — I started putting them together and then the scraps of those turned into these more sculptural piles. The paintings all began by me taking parts of the collages and tracing them. After I started tracing them and painting them, the piles became like patch marks that are going on top. They're all bouncing off one another.
Are there stories, ideas or memories behind the different pieces?
The piles themselves I think of as thought bubbles or sounds or words. I guess you would think of it as a poem, where you have a word or a thought bubble that happens. When I'm making the piles, I don't necessarily have the story in my head, but I think of it as my language. Same with the paintings. These really individualize it. The paintings are more on the scale of the collages. They all have titles, and for me the titles give a sense for what the work's about. There are little innuendos with the paintings that I'm thinking of as I'm creating them.
Can you tell me about the colors that you choose?
Color is really important to my work. I like making small moves in color that will make a painting vibrate. Female artists get sort of the short end of the stick, meaning if you make things too pretty you may get criticized for it. For me, it's saying I can do this and still be a really strong painter.
When I'm cutting up the paper, I put all of the colors in bags, so I make a palette the same way you would make a palette for a painting. In the future, I'm interested in doing a series like this that are color studies. I want to start fabricating (the piles) into larger pieces. I'd like to make them into larger sculptures that are on the floor and maybe coming out of the wall, too. I'm really interested in doing a room that would be these smaller piles done in a series where it's a color study.
What do you like best about being an artist?
Painting and art making have always been my love. But with this (show) in particular — because there are times when you're making work and it can be really frustrating — the end product has been really gratifying for me to be able to see it together in a gallery and see how my vision has come together. I've had one other solo show, but this is the first time I've had a full year to work on something and to really have my vision come out. I hope that people come in and get excited about how people can push what the idea of art making is.