Rachel Frank and Heidi Lau “The Sentinels”

Geary Contemporary

poster for Rachel Frank and Heidi Lau “The Sentinels”
[Image: Rachel Frank "Pattern for a Yurt V" (2018) Fabric, thread, glass beads, and brass grommets, 76 x 64 in. ]

This event has ended.

Geary presents The Sentinels, an exhibition of sculpture and video by Rachel Frank and Heidi Lau. The Sentinels centers around Frank and Lau’s unique perspectives and placement in the shifting landscapes, literally and metaphorically, of time and history.

Sentinels, or guardians, present themselves in several iterations throughout the exhibition: first, with Lau’s gargantuan ceramic serpent, “The Primordial Molder”, at the front of the gallery. This hand-built ceramic presence is at once an unyielding serpent entity and a craggy, flowing landscape. The appearance of disembodied pairs of ghostly hands in both Lau’s ceramic wall installation and video in the rear gallery suggest a disjointed past that’s been ruptured and augmented.

The adjacent walls are adorned with Frank’s heavily hand-beaded “Pattern for a Yurt” panels. In The Sentinels they live amongst a topographic installation of Lau’s ceramic series “Mountain of Knives”, referencing one of the 18 levels in Taoist hell. Only a pattern, not yet a structure, Frank’s beaded pieces suggest an abstracted possibility for transformative structures needed during times of upheaval. Her ceramic rhyton vessels in the center of the gallery act in a similar way. Frank’s rhytons are based on ancient Eurasian clay vessels that mimicked animal shapes and held liquids for use in ritualistic ceremonies performed to influence the gods. Filmed alongside an extinct woolly mammoth speaking in fragmented monologue, the video uses an expansive vision of time to examine the historical ways man divined the future and sought influence over natural processes.

Together, Frank and Lau suggest the stark reality of an uncertain future informed by the materiality of the past. While examining abject evidence of human kind’s trajectory, the two artists also offer a respite in The Sentinels: disaster and chaos, in the form of rapid expansion and collapse, are countered by guardians who watch over our real and mythological worlds as soothsayers: reforming the future by interpreting the past.


Rachel Frank grew up near Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, the birthplace of American paleontology. Frank is the recipient of grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, and Franklin Furnace Archive. She has attended residencies at Yaddo, The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, The Museum of Arts and Design, and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her performance pieces have been shown at Socrates Sculpture Park, and most recently at The Watermill Center in collaboration with Robert Wilson. Recent solo shows include the SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Thomas Hunter Projects at Hunter College—both in New York City in 2017. In 2018 Frank will have a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, AZ.

Heidi Lau was raised in Macau and currently works in Brooklyn. She has been featured in venues such as the Bronx Museum, Macao Museum of Art, Museum of Chinese in America (New York, NY), Wave Hill (Bronx, NY). Lau has received numerous residencies and awards, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park, Center for Book Arts Workspace Residency, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space and BRIC Media Arts Fellowship, among others. Her work was exhibited by Geary in a solo presentation at NADA New York in March 2018 and also participated in Spring Break Art Fair 2017 and 2018. In 2018 Lau will be an artist-in-residence at The Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans, as well as at St. John’s Pottery in Minnesota, made possible by the Jerome Foundation.



from May 31, 2018 to July 14, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-05-31 from 18:00 to 20:00

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use