Grand Apartment, 2006
San Francisco, California
In her meticulously crafted hand-carved drawings, artist Sarah Bostwick celebrates the quiet poetry of a nearly invisible architecture hiding beneath the surface of the visible environment.
Grand Apartment is an exhibition of drawings carved in dark hardwood, antique ivory, black acrylic, and slate-all of which have been inlaid into minimalist surfaces varying from whole museum walls to blocks of hydrocal resembling sheets of paper. Through laborious re-presentation of existing sites, Bostwick adds yet another layer of meaning to those ready-made sculptural marvels that hide in plain sight all around us-coaxing meaning from them through a hands-on immersion in their spatial properties.
These embedded reliefs can be viewed as elegant abstractions while simultaneously referencing very specific relationships. 3261 23rd Capp Street minimally depicts a grand Edwardian bay window inlaid with the third story view of a church carved in slate. It is a physical re-creation of the original scenario as much as it is a depiction of it – a diorama and a picture squashed together into something that is both and neither, while encompassing at least a century’s worth of history within the depth of a quarter of an inch. On closer inspection, the carved stone church is recessed into the plaster, set into it like a curious relic seen through the frame of a contemporary city apartment.
The result, in the aforementioned piece and in Bostwick’s other works, is a strange game of physical perspective. A sense of understanding of the features and the history of our built environment is accomplished in the pieces not simply through depiction, but through a process of physical demonstration – with the physical work magically transformed into the subject matter itself.