A show both ancient and modern at Bookplace
● By J. Chambless
'Ghosts of Horses' by Jill Beech.
By John Chambless
Ancient designs and modern insights
combine in “Anything Considered,” Jill Beech's solo show at
Bookplace in Oxford.
The range of mediums is impressive in itself, but the timeless eye of the artist is what stands out. The plates painted with earth-toned animal designs suggesting aboriginal art, and the bronze-like armor headplates for horses look like ancient artifacts, but are entirely new.
Beech's elegantly stylized horse sculptures have expressive faces and long, tapered bodies that get right to the elegance of the equine form.
There's a delightful large planter, its rim draped with five lizard-like creatures, arranged tail to snout. And “Cave Horses Form,” the graceful vessel painted inside and out with horse shapes, has the motion and energy of cave paintings. The shapes are echoed in two wall pieces as well.
Adding to the diversity, there's “Nest,” a teardrop shaped, hollow structure hanging from the ceiling that looks like some sort of wasp nest, suspended over “Refugee,” a human figure wrapped in brown-tinged material. The figure stands over a small, ragged bundle of the same material, making it a somber, enigmatic presence.
One wall piece, “Ghosts of Horses,” has four hollow, translucent forms in the shape of horse skulls – or do they suggest shrouded human figures?
Two quilled paper constructions, “Currents and Chaos,” turn the edges and shadows into sinuous compositions, and the three hollow cylinders pierced with intricate patterns (“White Towers”) look like exotic corals, but are decorated with patterned holes and swirling grooves.
Beech's work – although it echoes and celebrates ancient designs – looks like nothing else you've ever seen, and there's a strong sense of direction and purpose behind each piece. Walking through “Anything Considered” is like uncovering the works of some lost civilization.
Beech, who is a veterinarian at the New Bolton Center, will donate half of the proceeds from this show to the aid organization Hispanic Federation for Hurricane Relief.
“Jill Beech: Anything Considered” will continue through Nov. 5 at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford). Hours are Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 717-715-4775 or visit www.bookplaceoxford.com.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.