by Emmy Thelander
The show up right now at Regina Rex, a brand new gallery on the top floor of one of Bushwick’s industrial buildings, reminds me of a remark Carl Andre made in 1996 about the work of Eva Hesse. He said, “Perhaps I am the bones and the body of sculpture and perhaps Richard Serra is the muscle, but Eva Hesse is the brain and the nervous system extending far into the future.”
The works at Rex, by Yui Kugimiya and Fabienne Lasserre, like Hesse’s, contribute the nervous and bodily to the spare Minimalist forms of Andre and Judd, but they are the weird relatives that make one a little uncomfortable in conversation. The paintings by Kugimiya and the sculptural works by Lasserre involve a vocabulary of messy, mangled and colorful materials.
The pieces are funny—Lasserre’s sculptures awkwardly take up space in the world and Kugimiya’s paintings are coated with far too much material for their size. They exude a sense of something being amiss but trying to act nonchalantly as if everything is normal. Two bricks support Lasserre’s sculpture, Untitled (I Did Not Advance I Did Not Retreat). Without them, the sculpture would roll over. The bricks, deadpan, act unaware of the mess happening behind them; they do their job and even try to fit in (one is painted white to match the coating of the linen pancake that is the bulk of the sculpture), but they are obvious misfits. The works in the show, particularly Lasserre’s sculpture, have an undeniable sense of humor in their attempt to mask or apologize for their strange existences.
Kugimiya’s paintings are slightly heavier; their material density, thick layers of smudged acrylic over cages of yarn, gives an impression of painfully trying to expose an embarrassing secret, rather than sweeping it under the rug. Some are lighter, though. For instance, Untitled (Summer Bathing) feels like a kid or a dog having just come out of the lake and needing a towel. Vertical, languid motion reminds me of the way water collects and falls from wet hair. The bright blue on the top and bottom of the painting are even like the lake and the reflected June sky. Who would have thought that this could actually look like “summer bathing”?
The show is only open for one more week. I highly recommend you make the short pilgrimage to see it. The work is unique and unpretentious. It is refreshing to find intuitive, honest pieces of high caliber when these days I find myself questioning many of the things that make their way into Chelsea galleries.
The gallery is located at 1717 Troutman St. off the Jefferson St. L stop in Brooklyn. The building takes up most of the block past Cypress Ave. There is a labeled bell for the gallery that will let you into the building. Unfortunately, normal hours are Friday through Sunday 12 to 6 (which gives you just two days!), but I have a hunch that if you call ahead to make an appointment they would be happy to accommodate you at an off time.
—Emmy Thelander is a young artist and a recent addition to Brooklyn. She graduated recently from school in St. Louis where she received a degree in painting. She makes colorful artwork with lots of materials that is sculpture, painting, and installation.