A public garden & cultural center

Jarrod Beck

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: MEGATHRUST, 2017; Aluminum. Courtesy of the artists and Wave Hill. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

MEGATHRUST, cast and fabricated for Wave Hill, is a meditation on the geographic processes of the Palisades visible just across the river. Installed on the east wall of the North Gallery, the horizontal aluminum work converses directly with the geological feature. A September 16 dance performance will activate the work and its relationship to the subducting tectonic plates that created the Palisades eons ago. Exploring geological processes is a reoccurring theme in Beck’s work; his 2013 Sunroom Project also dealt with these natural forces of construction and collapse.

Sunroom Project Space | August 3–September 8, 2013

Talus, 2013, clay, wood, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist

Jarrod Beck uses drawing and sculpture to interpret geological processes. Responding to natural land formations that have evolved over millennia, the artist translates changes in landscape into immersive, spatial experiences, exploring the human body’s visceral interaction with space. With a background in architecture and printmaking, Beck’s large-scale drawings and installations grapple with the opposing forces of construction and collapse, seeking to elicit a physical and emotional response that prompts our collective awe of nature. In his practice, drawing takes three-dimensional form and develops as a protracted transformation of architectural space. Using natural substances like charcoal, charred wood, cast plaster and clay, he exploits the properties of his materials, often pushing them to the breaking point.

For his Sunroom Project, Talus, Beck takes inspiration from the nearby Hudson Palisades, which were formed millions of years ago when tectonic plates shifted and semi-molten igneous rock was forced up through the earth’s crust. A slow process of cooling, contracting and eroding over the eons has created the cliff’s etched façade. With exposure to the sunlight and humidity in the gallery, Beck’s sculptural installation will go through a similar change of state. The sculpture’s earthen materials—a massive amount of clay mounted on wood supports—will react to the climate of the Sun Porch over five weeks. As the clay dries, it cracks and crumbles, creating a tension between solidity and fragility. This disintegration is referenced in the title, Talus, which is the geological term for the pile of rocky fragments that forms at the base of a cliff. The installation reenacts this natural erosion, creating a dialogue between the interior space and the view. The color and texture of the clay responds to, and contrasts with, the brick walls and stone floor of the Sun Porch, as well as with the woodlands and Palisades beyond.


Talus, 2013, clay, wood, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist website

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.