26 Mar 2019

Bethany Collins: A Pattern or Practice

University Galleries of Illinois State University

Reviewed by Anthony Hamilton

In "A Pattern or Practice," Bethany Collins's drawing-based works are a timely reminder of the fragility of language, in a time and place of its questioning.

To paraphrase the artist's words, if language is intrinsically biased it is bound to fail. The works toe this line conceptually, and reinforce it through their installation. Eraser and paper shavings are shown in different areas: under a museum display in Find I, 1982 (2015), left in a trail in Find, 1982 (2016-2017), and preserved in the frames in many of the wall pieces. These are stark reminders of the failure of language similar to the risk an artist takes by showing the disposable detritus of the studio. The evidential tracks of shavings criticize language, but also prove the inability to categorically separate from it.

By highlighting its contradictions, Collins shows the limits of language's power. Contronyms, a subject of a series of wall works, seem an appropriate symbol for the entire process of her work.

Exhibition Bethany Collins: A Pattern or Practice link
Start date 15 Feb 2019
End date 31 Mar 2019 (22 days ago)
Presenter University Galleries of Illinois State University link
Venue 11 Uptown Circle, Suite 103, Normal, IL, USA map
Image Bethany Collins, Southern Review, 1985 (Special Edition), 2014-2015, charcoal on paper, 57.5 x 104 inches, collection of Eugene Fu
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