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''Mind Games''
at AndrewShire Gallery
Preview by Kathy Zimmerer

The artists in 'Mind Games' verge on the cusp of abstraction, and are linked by works' underlying complexity and poetry.

Contemporary artists exploring the subtleties of the landscape, abstraction and representation create rich visual images in “Mind Games III,” a group exhibit including Hei Myung C. Hyun, Yoshio Ikezaki, Scott Katano, Franklyn Liegel, Jin Yong Lee, Kaoru Mansour, and Joseph Piasentin. Most of the artists verge on the cusp of abstraction in their work, and are united in the underlying complexity of their approach to materials and the intrinsic poetry of their visuals.

Most intricate are the multi-colored paintings/collages of Franklyn Liegel, who creates a complex web of images by attaching found materials and layering tiles of thick impasto paint to the canvas. Resembling a crazy quilt, his work is full of brilliant hues, variegated textures and interwoven patterns. Part of a series riffing on famous architecture is the mixed media painting, “Clandestine Gaudi,” in which Liegel builds up the surfaces with a dizzying array of pigment, thread, shapes and colors.   

Hei Myung C. Hyun’s favorite lakes and their limpid waters, found near Jeju Island in South Korea, are reflected in a shimmering series called “Hado (Island in the Sea).”  Rendered in acrylic, the monochromatic veils of soft grey in her paintings are enhanced by tiny, sparkling glass beads.  One that conveys a powerful sense of reverence, “Passage 1002,” is an abstraction with trees silhouetted against the vertical striations of a landscape in deep blue, green, magenta and grey. Delicate circles further define the surface and give the painting texture and depth.

Yoshio Ikezaki’s biomorphic paper sculptures are an admixture of abstract and natural forms. He uses hundreds of sheets of Washi paper made from Kozo fibers to create his organic sculptures; their layered forms reflect the fragility and beauty of nature. In the sculpture “The Earth Breathes - Mind Landscape 10,” the texture resembles tree bark and the image evokes a butterfly cocoon, echoing without depicting natural phenomenon.

Scott Katano is the pop artist in the group who uses found materials in his wry assemblages that reconfigure the everyday object. In “Still Life A” a cigarette balances on a pocket knife, while a blue letter A and a chess piece completes the ensemble.  It is deceptively simple and nicely balanced. There is a Dadaist nihilism that Katano employs in his other assemblage, “Still Life Jack,” appropriately topped with the tiresome and commercially ubiquitous head of Jack from the Jack in the Box restaurants.

Jin Yong Lee offers a series of portraits of iconic artists and their signatures depicted on antique glass camera plates. An eerie combination of the old and new, the camera plates function like contemporary grave stele, immortalizing and freezing the artists’ visages in time and space. He uses oil paint to represent Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci and to recreate hand tinted photographs of Gustave Klimt and Egon Schiele. 

Kaoru Mansour transforms gourds into shining orbs of elegance and wit. Covered with layers of pearlescent and metallic acrylic colors, Kaoru delicately decorates the smooth surfaces with string, cloth, thread and pins, giving shape and texture to her spheres. 

The lyrical oil paintings and pastel drawings by Joseph Piasentin are filled to the brim with delicately tinted circles, snow flakes and blossoms which seem to bubble up to the surface. Most beautiful is his pastel, “2.10.08,” in which braided circles and linear spirals jostle each other in a poetic mélange of glowing color and rhythmic images. Also effective are his darker pastels that show fragile white spheres against a backdrop of inky black.  A large oil painting, “A Moment of Accidental Benevolence,” retains the refinement of his pastel drawings as the surface is delineated in swirls of color and light.

Although entirely different in their imagery and media, these artists are connected in their originality of spirit and vision. Taken together their work creates a visually cohesive and elegant exhibit. 

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2010

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