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Isaac Lin’s In Plain Sight at Asian Arts Initiative – an Artblog speed read


–>Chip’s short, sweet review of Isaac Lin’s show at Asian Arts finds vibrating, immersive abstractions on the walls along with friendly cartoon characters and smaller framed works. –the artblog editors————————->

At Asian Arts Initiative through the rest of the summer and well into the fall, you can check out the wild, colorful, patterned artwork of Philadelphia-based Isaac Tin Wei Lin in his solo show, “In Plain Sight.” With what can perhaps be best described as reckless abandon, Lin covers the interior of Asian Arts Initiative’s first floor gallery with mostly abstract, predominantly two-dimensional artwork.

Isaac Lin, "Green and Green."
Isaac Lin, “Green and Green.”

Lin’s style lies somewhere betwixt illustration and graffiti. Many of his pieces are entirely abstract, full of highly-contrasted shapes which seem to ebb and flow around each other. Since many of these images span entire sections of the walls, they are taller than any single observer, thus offering both complete immersion from up close and a wall of warping, multi-directional waves from afar.

Isaac Lin, "Broken Spell."
Isaac Lin, “Broken Spell.”

Some works include only these spontaneous globular forms, but in a few the artist tosses in more standard shapes, including open rectangles in a primary color scheme in “Primary Center” and filled-in yellow and black circles in “Broken Spell.” These shapes add depth and serve to break up the sometimes overstimulating fields of interconnecting madness.

Isaac Lin, "Looking for You."
Isaac Lin, “Looking for You.”

At other times, Lin layers multiple intricate melanges atop one another, as in “Looking for You.” The result is a nearly indecipherable forest of ink.

Isaac Lin, "Henry."
Isaac Lin, “Henry.”

In certain pieces, Lin’s depictions take a sudden turn for the comical. He creates anthropomorphic cartoon cats and dogs in a few spots, abandoning his twisting patterns for an emphasis on figurative representation. Perhaps just as playful as his non-objective scrawling, these characters have names like “Peter,” “Waverly” and “Henry,” as well as gigantic, friendly eyes. If Lin’s more abstract work alienates any visitors, these few offshoots offer an inviting innocence and goofiness that nearly anyone can appreciate.

Also included in the show are a series of smaller, framed studies titled by their colors, some photographs covered in inky meanderings, and even a bright yellow poncho serving as a canvas, its hood sticking out the middle like a puffy shopping bag and the overall piece recalling the stripes of a yellow jacket.

Asian Arts Initiative will be displaying “In Plain Sight” through October 18.