The 28-year-old, New York-based artist Devra Freelander, who made work in sculpture and video dealing with climate change and geology through an ecofeminist and millennial lens, was killed on Monday in Brooklyn when she was hit by a cement truck while riding her bicycle. This is the third fatal bicycle accident in the city in the span of a week.
Freelander, who was born in Suffern, New York, in 1990 and grew up in New Jersey, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art at Oberlin College in 2012 and then her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2016. She was a founding member of the artist collective Material Girls, formed in 2016, which aimed to help form a support network for women-identifying emerging artists. Freelander’s profile on the site reads: “strengths: sanding, colours”, “weaknesses: smoothies, mezcal”; “ask me about: rocks, Antarctica”.
The artist most recently showed at Times Square last March with the sculpture Eventual Artifact (2019), made with Gracelee Lawrence, another Material Girls founding member, presented by Times Square Arts and SPRING/BREAK Art Show. The bright-pink column-like work was described as “a fantasy core sample of Times Square from the future”, with 3D-printed versions of “techno-capitalist artefacts” like CDs and Styrofoam cups to make viewers think about climate change in terms of values and where they fit into a wider system.
Freelander has shown work at other venues including the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence, the New York Design Center, and the Fjúk Arts Centre in Iceland, where she also participated in a residency programme. She has had other residencies at organisations including Sculpture Space in Utica, New York; the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York; the Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard, Norway; and Socrates Sculpture Park in New York.
“Our heart breaks for you, your family and friends,” CIRCA Gallery in Minneapolis, who represented Freelander, said on Facebook. “Such a talented sculptor and beautiful soul, you are gone far too soon from this earth but forever in our hearts. We are so blessed by the relationship we had, the amazing sculpture you sent our way, and the endless smiles.”