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Opening Reception for Thicket: An Exhibition by Lily Cox-Richard
Thicket is a continuation of Lily Cox-Richard's larger on-going project, The Stand (Possessing Powers), which grapples with sculptural traditions, American history, gender and form. In this project, each of the carved plaster sculptures takes on a marble figure sculpture by Hiram Powers (1805-1873), once considered the Father of American Sculpture. For Thicket, Cox-Richard studied Powers’ two sculptures of Eve: Eve Tempted (modeled 1842) and Eve Disconsolate (modeled 1855-1861). She carves away at this old work, focusing on the elaborate and explicit props that structurally support the figures – a tree stump with a snake coiled around it or slinking away -- and the contact points between them. In her process of making and unmaking, figure and ground conflate into new forms.
Cox-Richard is particularly interested in the contrast between the foliage that partially covers these tree stumps: Eve Tempted is lush and wild, while Eve Disconsolate is more sparse and stylized. This pair of sculptures is accompanied by a photographic series of cast plaster hands, which reference different textual and sculptural interpretations of Eve, while also pointing to the hand’s role in making.
Lily Cox-Richard grew up on a farm in Virginia. While in college, she took a yearlong leave to ride shotgun with a long haul truck driver, and after finishing her BFA spent a summer selling cowboy boots at Wall Drug, a roadside attraction in South Dakota. After earning an MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University, she was in the CORE Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She has been an artist in residence at MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH), Kompact Living Space (Berlin), AREA Gallery (Caguas, Puerto Rico), and Platteforum Arts (Denver, CO).
Cox-Richard has received fellowships and grants from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (the Eliza Prize and the Meredith Long Prize) and The American Craft Council. In summer 2009, she received the Milos Chlupác Fellowship to spend the summer living and working in a quarry near Salzburg, Austria to learn stone carving. Recently, she was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship for her current project, The Stand. She is currently an assistant professor in the Penny W Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, where she is a post-doctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows.