Courtney Childress


b.1982; Lives and works in New York, NY

Courtney Childress' sculptural practice offers a chance to relearn how to relate to our bodies, the immediate environment and perhaps most urgently, each other by tapping into our earliest impulses to explore through play.


The artist's Rocks and Boulders series, made by layering melted crayons into vivid sculptural masses, are akin to geologic formations. When applied to a drawing surface, they are performative tools that leave trails of polychromatic impressions. At first, they are craggy with a surface almost petrified and brittle. With use, they are burnished to reveal smooth multicolor strata in carefully selected palettes.

Rocks are meant for communal use: viewers are encouraged to use these mark making tools to freely draw on the canvas within the chain's fixed radius. As marks build up on the canvas, they simultaneously disappear into the lines left by others. The limits set by the artist become evident as marks accumulate at the farthest reaches of the chain resulting in a unified curved composition. The sum of thousands of individual marks and personal performative moments is a radiating field of color.


The larger Boulders are closely determined in size and weight by the limits of the artist's body. Their physical presence implies movement and memory. Childress drags, pushes and wrangles these hunks of color across the floor of her studio tracing both her movements and the specific confines of the space. The boundaries set by the artist are not meant as an aggressive form of restraint but a guided opportunity to challenge the mind and body.