Ellie Krakow is obsessed with museum armatures. You may wonder what exactly a museum armature is. Maybe you’ve never noticed them, and that's just the point. They are often overlooked. Though paramount to museum display, they are made to be invisible. They hold and position items such as ancient pots, weapons, historical costumes and sculptural remnants so viewers can get a better look. For years Krakow has been developing the series Arm Armature to explore and expose them as physical and metaphorical support structures. More recently, Krakow's Beige Negative is a modular project that includes two tables and five staging shelves that house a group of ceramic sculptures and reversible photo panels in various configurations that shift and change from one installation to the next.
Mounted as custom-crafted wall pedestals, the elements within her colorful sculptures are conversant yet invisible to each other like the hemispheres of the mind after split brain surgery. Krakow continues to study existing armatures, sculpt them in clay, and pose her arms to interpret them, to stage a dialogue. The resulting pieces document her contorted hands interacting with displaced and abstracted artifacts. Krakow’s work adds to the conversation within contemporary practice found in Haim Steinbach’s use of shelves and displays, Bruce Nauman’s spatial divisions and recurring use of hand gestures, as well as recent developments in the hybridization of photography and sculpture. In an increasingly digital world, incorporating an image of the artist’s hand into a hand-crafted display, make both the image and the object more tangible and unique.
Ellie Krakow received her MFA from Hunter College and BA from Prescott College, and also attended Skowhegan. She has exhibited widely including solo exhibitions and performances at Spring/Break Art Fair, Skowhegan Project Space and Chuchifritos, as well as group shows at Field Projects, Interstate Projects, Nars Foundation and Thierry Goldberg (all NYC). In 2016, she had a solo exhibition at Nurture Art in Brooklyn. Outside of NYC, Krakow’s work has been shown in China, Puerto Rico and Serbia. Her work has been featured in BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, ARTOBSERVER and Arte Fuse. She also participated in the Abrons Arts Center AIR Space Residency in NYC, received a fellowship to Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY, and was twice nominated for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant.