A public garden & cultural center

Carrie Beckmann

Prickly, Tender and Steamy: Artists in the Hothouse 
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–May 18, 2014 

Pictured Above: The Wave Hill Greenhouse Effect, 2012, watercolor on paper, 43 ½” x 44 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

Carrie Beckmann paints flora directly from nature. Harnek’s Cacti is an example of Beckmann’s vivid depictions of the succulents that caught her eye during the many hours that she spent in Wave Hill’s Conservatory. In The Wave Hill Greenhouse Effect, the artist captures the interaction between plants and architecture and the juxtaposition between natural and built environments.

I was overwhelmed the first time I set foot in the Conservatory [at Wave Hill], knowing I was going to be able to paint there. I would move from plant to plant as I painted. The incredibly varied shapes, shine, textures and colors gave me a hugely diverse and interesting selection of things to paint. On certain days, different plants would move me, and I’d have to do a quick watercolor of a specific plant. The environment of the greenhouse and the willingness of the gardeners to let me work there was really special for me.

One day, I wanted to include the structure of the greenhouse in a painting. It was really hard not to take a photo, which would have flattened the structure for me, but I resisted and worked it out myself without the aid of a camera. It seemed very complex at first, but I was so attracted to the way the plants interacted with the architecture. I also experimented with combining plants in my paintings in ways other than how they were arranged in the Conservatory, like editing what I was looking at rather than recording things as in a photograph. I chose the plants that I was intuitively drawn to, especially for their bright color. Even when I painted the somewhat muted cacti and succulents, I found many unexpected colors.

—Carrie Beckmann

Beckmann has spent considerable time in gardens in London and Paris, where she previously lived. Recent artist residencies include Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, NY, and Ursa Major Arts in Copake, NY. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Goatshed Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Washington Art Association, Washington, CT; and Beardsmore Gallery, London, England. She earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Pictured above: Harnek’s Cacti, 2012, watercolor on paper, 53 ½” x 19.” Courtesy of the artist.

Pictured above: Some Succulents, 2012, watercolor on paper, 51 ½” x 18.” Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace 2012
Glyndor Gallery | January 3 – March 25, 2012

Carrie Beckmann in her Winter Workspace studio, 2012. Courtesy of Wave Hill.

Click here for more information about the artist.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.