Painter Bridget Riley once wrote, “Painters have always needed a sort of veil upon which they can focus their attention. It’s as though the more fully the consciousness is absorbed, the greater the freedom of the spirit behind.”
Mayumi Hyashi has assembled a resonant and mysterious exhibit comprised of works by Barbara Campisi, Maki Kaoru and Carrie Pollack. Although each of the featured artists’ works differs in media and subject, they are united by a concern for veiled spirituality.
Barbara Campisi layers mylar, canvas and frosted plexiglass to develop shallow environments that are poised between painting and sculpture. Her work features linear, geometric compositions on canvas that are then partially obscured behind a layer of translucent mylar with similarly but different lines. The result produces subtle, optical effects that vary as one moves in relation to the piece. Her linear marks are created using powdered pigment and a snap line—the same technique used by carpenters to mark sheetrock when building interiors—a no-touch approach that produces a line both geometrically straight yet slightly blurred. Barbara Campisi has invested time to refine her use of materials resulting in a translucent effect that appears effortless and graceful in its simplicity. The overall effect is of something being partially hidden—present but unobtainable.
While the approach differs, the concerns that drive Maki Kaoru’s photographic panels are the same. She photographs frosted glass panels of office buildings from the inside. Thin interstices between the panels allow for thin slices of clarity between larger expanses of blurred reflections. Again, the theme of veiled imagery and the obscurity of the subject resonate in these pieces. Kaoru’s images demonstrate a painterly eye for color and texture. Despite this, she is at least as concerned with obscured narrative than with formal issues.
Similarly interested in the invisible, for this exhibit, Carrie Pollack has created a short video loop that explores the possibility of ghosts within the wonder of natural beauty. Most of us have experienced the mesmerizing effect of waves washing beneath our feet while walking in the surf on the beach. For Pollack this has become a doorway between the world of the living and the underworld. Spirits, present perhaps in the form of digital banding, perhaps as constellations of reflected sunlight appear against the receding water and sand of a Florida beach.
This exhibit shows how an insightful curatorial approach can allow a broad theme to emerge from disparate works. Perhaps, as Riley wrote, these artists’ concern for veiled meaning and obscured narrative frees their spirits. Yet I sense there’s connection here—conscious or not—to the structuralists of the mid-twentieth century who also were fascinated by the impossibility of narrative meaning.
Paintings by Barbara Campisi, Photography by Maki Kaoru and video by Carrie Pollack
Fri – Tues, Sept 10- 28, 2010
Opening reception: Sat, Sept 18, 5 – 8pm
Meet Artists: Sun 27, 4- 6pm
Gallery hours by appointment
119 India St
(between Manhattan Ave & Franklin St)