TENDING TO THE EARTH, TO OTHER PEOPLE, OR TO THEIR OWN INNER LIVES, PUCKETT’S NEW SCULPTURES ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE PLANET, OF COMMUNITIES, OF THEMSELVES. EACH IS A BODY WITH AN ARMATURE OR SKELETON MADE FROM FOUND OBJECTS AND WITH A SKIN OF REPURPOSED TEXTILE.
The armature and skin represent for Puckett a subcutaneous invisible energy that flows between the bone and the surface of the body. This energetic field is conducted through linear elements and color that heat up or cool down. The works in this show start by conglomerating discarded items then meditatively wrapping them with a range of ropes, chords, strings, wires and endless fibrous materials. They weave in and out in a maddeningly compounded way building up mass.
The Caretaker looks after both inanimate and animate things alike. Puckett describes the sculpture,
“I’ve gone back and forth on calling it Caretaker or Caregiver. It’s peculiar that ‘giver’ and ‘taker’ are interchangeable words for the same occupation. A caretaker is sometimes interpreted as being more of a property manager, someone who looks after inanimate things. I just don’t think of anything as inanimate so I’m going with caretaker because I like the word better.” The first soft layer of the sculpture was made from textile scraps donated by the 686 members of the “Croton Face Mask Makers” who have made masks for healthcare workers and underserved communities.
The Confidant is a wise friend, seated upright, full attention, in a lotus pose, listening.
The Digger, a self-portrait, takes the form of an excavator, a question mark.
The Gardener is tending to the land, the soil, in the hopes that plants will grow.
The Griever is in mourning with two bulbous forms, like two upside-down bowls. There is a little bit of pink flesh-like fabric showing through the mourning dress. A pillbox hat with a silly radish on top provides comic relief for a piece that is very melancholy.
The Joiner represents the creation of something new by joining two disparate forms but in such a way that simultaneously builds strength and flexibility. Colors are derived from the swallowtail butterfly which symbolizes, among many things, spiritual rebirth.
New Day’s palette is from a Frederick Church painting “Looking East over the Hudson Valley to the Catskill Mountains”, 1849
Courtney Puckett lived and worked in Brooklyn for 15 years and currently lives and works in the Hudson Valley, NY. She earned a BFA from MICA, MFA from Hunter College, was an Artist-in-Residence in LMCC’s Workspace Program and a Full Fellowship recipient at Vermont Studio Center. She has participated in exhibitions across the country, collaborated with Neville Dance Studio for Norte Maar’s “Counterpointe” series and curated “Drawing for Sculpture” at TSA NY. Puckett is a recipient of an NEA grant and was featured in ArtFCity, Hyperallergic, Painting is Dead, Tribeca Tribune, and NYTimes art blog. She is a part-time Instructor at Parsons School of Design and FIT. She was a Faculty Artist at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (2019), runs the backyard art space White Rock Center for the Arts, and is building an artist registry of the Hudson Valley.