Cadence Giersbach in her studio, 2022
Cadence Giersbach in her DUMBO, Brooklyn studio, 2022

statement on recent work

I paint on unstretched muslin and build papier mâché sculptures that are alive with the potency of organic matter, inspired by the fascinating tangle of growth I see and experience in my garden. I use abstraction and decoration to describe what I have seen and felt while observing creatures, planting, and tending. For me, the garden is a metaphor for life’s intensity, beauty, and precariousness.

Abstract images of fields, stones, rivers, flowers, and earth are painted on unprimed, unstretched muslin that undulates like a landscape, the surface of the water, or a leaf. Sometimes, I fold the paint-soaked fabric to self-print an area, add loose gestural brushstrokes, or draw dashes and lines. I paint with spontaneity, so the paintings stay fresh. Then, I often sew on elements like piping, straps, and fabric shapes to expand the work’s physical presence and give it dimensionality. These paintings, which describe personal experiences, evoke visceral, sensory memories of nature.

Papier mâché and clay, like mud, are viscous before hardening into stone. I work like a gardener with these materials, pushing and pulling to mold them into form. My process of building upwards is loosely improvisational and mirrors the growth of vegetation. Over time, my thoughts about pods, rocks, wings, antennae, and webs grow into strangely beautiful, often anamorphic sculptures. Insects, because of their abstract forms, are a recurring motif, as are snakes because of the symbolism they evoke and their shape, which is a curve that reaches into space. I exaggerate shapes and colors to intensify the work’s emotional tenor. My intention is always to animate an object, to coax it into expressing the abstract story it contains.


Cadence Giersbach lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Sullivan County, NY. She received an MFA from Rutgers University and a BA from Vassar College and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Giersbach received a Pollock Krasner Foundation Award and a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Award. She has exhibited at Roebling Hall (Brooklyn, NY), Sandroni Rey (Venice, CA), Venetia Kapernekas (New York, NY), Deitch Projects (New York, NY), White Columns (New York, NY), Wave Hill (Bronx, NY), Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY), Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City, MX), Galerie Asbæk (Copenhagen, DK), Galerie Faurschou (Copenhagen, DK), and the Kunsthalle Nürnberg (Nürnberg, DE). Her work has been commissioned by Arts for Transit, MTA (Brooklyn, NY), the Town of Montclair (Montclair, NJ), Percent for Art, (Queens, NY), the Palladium Co., (West Palm Beach, FL) Public Collections include the Albright-Knox, Buffalo, NY, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, and the RISD Museum, Providence, RI. Her work has been reviewed in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Artforum Online.