Courtney Childress: Rock Steady

3 December 2021 - 22 January 2022

Massey Klein is pleased to present Rock Steady, an exhibition of new work by Courtney Childress, on view from December 3rd to January 22nd with an opening reception on Friday, December 10th. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. For press inquiries or questions regarding works available, please email

Installation Views
Press release

Rock Steady presents two interactive wall drawings and a series of sculptures - both utilizing Rocks and Boulders made from thousands of melted crayons. Through her reimagining of this familiar children’s material, Childress creates situations and objects that evoke the sensory experiences of childhood while highlighting the physical constraints and conditions of the present.

Childress makes the Rocks and Boulders by layering melted crayons into vivid sculptural masses 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.

In the front and middle rooms of the gallery, the artist has installed smaller hand-held Rocks tethered with chains to blank canvas. Visitors 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.

Where the Rocks are meant for communal use, the larger Boulders, presented here on pedestals, 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. As John Baldessari stated “ ...the artist can either work in cooperation with the space as a partner, or the other extreme, attack it with his ego, savage it, overpower it. I prefer the former. Sol (LeWitt) is gentle with the wall, lets it speak.“ Childress offers a chance to relearn how to relate to our bodies, the immediate environment and perhaps most urgently, each other by tapping into those earliest impulses to explore through play.


Massey Klein Gallery is located at 124 Forsyth St. New York, NY 10002. For inquiries regarding works available, please contact

Virtual Exhibition