In 2014, she installed a nearly 500-foot-long outdoor brass handrail at the Storm King Art Center
. Other shows—in Zurich, Memphis, San Francisco, and elsewhere—gave her further opportunities to explore: to suspend a simple tree trunk from a metal armature as if it were a valuable relic; to install windmills and foster an environment of aquatic plants, as she did on a terrace at the Whitney Museum of American Art
in 2016. She’s now represented by Bortolami
in New York, which is in the process of planning a future solo debut with her.
It’s tempting to typecast Overton as a “Southern artist,” given her choice of materials. But even when working with something as loaded as an old pick-up truck up on blocks, she’s striving for something that reads more universally. “People have trucks all over the world!” she says. “It’s funny—when I talk to people, because I have this Southern accent, it becomes a regional kind of expression. For sure, my history and upbringing play into what I make and why I use things over and over again, but it’s more about economy of material, or getting as much value out of something until it’s just not usable anymore. Because I make things wherever I go, in some ways they take on the language of wherever I am.”
That flexible, on-the-fly method of working can be exciting, but also a little stressful. For “Why?! Why Did You Take My Log?!?!”, her 2017 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, Overton, had a little over two weeks on-site to conceive and execute new pieces. She recalls being awake at 2 a.m., piecing together a small-scale model of what would become the exhibition’s largest sculpture using plastic coffee stirrers and first-aid tape. “There were three other artists installing at the time, and they were nervous for me,” she laughs. “Artists get so nervous for me! I’m like, ‘It’s okay, it’s gonna be fine.’ I mean…hopefully. You never know, but that’s also part of it. I wouldn’t say that every single thing is a success. And that’s okay. Even if I spent months and years planning something, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a success, either.”