These draw from the visual reference of a life of experience with illness, death, and the body's incredible strength, resilience, and strange surprises. Bones, bone scans, MRIs, scars, stitches, imaginings of bone marrow transplants, friends with illness, parents with illness, everyone with resilience, and a healthy me with some strange health challenges and horrible surprises. I started working with clay more seriously in the early 2000s and made a series of significant installations with Bowie between 2007 and 2012. This work comes out of that practice. They are not directly about motherhood or birth, perse, but that experience was transformative and beautiful … and disfiguring and made my body move and change in ways that still seem mysterious and just plain weird.
Eve Biddle has been making the ongoing New Relics series since 2014. Rendered in ceramic, bronze, and salvaged wood, these works are meant to be installed as a group on a wall or tabletop, or held in the hand. They are striking for their discreet biomorphic shapes, seductive surfaces, and contrasting color scheme. She considers the “New Relics” to exist in a kind of dialogue with her mother’s sculpture: an idea that is realized in this gallery’s tabletop installation, in which Biddle’s sculptures appear alongside selections from Unger’s series of small bronzes from the 1980s and 90s.
Eve Biddle’s New Relics are at once seductively tactile and off-limits, mythic and familiar, ghostly and solid, domestic and wild, beautiful and twisted. Marked visibly by the artist’s hand, the sculptures reference the shared human experience of clay manipulation and our fascination with the female form, serving as a portal to something primordial and elemental. They feel simultaneously ancient and contemporary, familiar and new.
Biddle grew up as the daughter of the daring artist Mary Ann Unger, a lauded member of the monumental feminist sculpture movement. Biddle’s work evokes the confidence, clarity, and power of that movement, but at a scale that demands intimacy. She employs organic, sophisticated forms to investigate, play with, and complicate the viewer’s relationship to the body. New Relics reveals Biddle’s understanding of a woman’s anatomy as both enticing and unsavory, beautiful and jagged, routinely presented for public inspection and protected from the stranger’s hand. These objects reference and honor the forms found under living skin, reminding us of the hidden sculptural networks inside ourselves.
Written with Danielle Durchslag