Ye Qin Zhu: Fragments | Christopher Richmond: Totem and Chimeras 👀

743 N. La Brea Avenue
Jan 16, 11 AM - 5:30 PM — ends Feb 06, 2021
Ye Qin Zhu: Fragments
January 9 - February 6, 2021

Ye Qin Zhu’s recent paintings embody an agitated mind’s wavering attention—humming with fixation and aversion—split between micro and macro moments. Like a dense, excited school of fish darting in and out of sunbeams, Zhu’s marks follow the paintings’ topographies, forming visual currents and traceable passages. At the same time, the eleven continent-shaped paintings are cut from a unified sheet. Similar to the tectonic plates that broke from a single mass eons ago, the drifting pieces have evolved uniquely, and yet inklings of kinship scatter throughout. This series and the works’ respective titles form a poem whose limbs and lines have been separated. Without sequence, their positions are like shards of memory stewing in the mind, a frayed network marked by continual renewal and revision. The works’ supposed brokenness, offset by Zhu’s delicate application of tiny iridescent brushstrokes across the pictures’ surfaces, suggests an attitude of meditative healing and an understanding of painting’s role as a luminous throughline between the estranged.

Indeed, Zhu’s hand makes itself felt throughout these paintings in the thousands of micro-decisions that account for their uncannily seductive, unstinting surfaces. Take for example the widespread found and applied objects—in addition to providing direction to the swarming brushstrokes, the objects serve to link the paintings’ spiritual momenta with the physical world’s concrete trappings. Again, the paintings read like islands of memory, where retained imagery swirls in fast-moving emotional tide pools, assuming deeply subjective and ever-volatile meanings; and, like memory, the paintings’ cohesive whole is hardly discernible and somehow beside the point. Rather, Zhu centers the uncodified relationship between the shards, which comes to form the work’s spiritual architecture.

This intangible architecture electrifies the paintings’ frayed edges, which are lined with a warm reflective color. Moving from the artist’s spirit that animates to the materials that record and contain, Zhu pushes the appearance of objects to convey human ideas of empathy and interdependence. This is felt as the paintings lift from the walls—mounted on thick cleats—without clear orientation, as if hovering and reassembling in relation to the viewer, who imagines them pulling together. Or, the pieces may find themselves parsed by the physical architecture’s dimensions, where the edges of space and emotions become relative and negotiable. An uncommon approach to painting, which traditionally asks that each artwork be a discrete object, Zhu’s works embrace the possibility of communion with all things severed and distant. From this, a model of a healing, supportive humanity begins to emerge, with 'Fragments' offering a guide to compassionate living informed, not stifled, by the strangeness of separation.

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Christopher Richmond: Totem and Chimeras
January 9 - February 6, 2021

Full of nods to science-fiction, self-reference and retooled tropes, Christopher Richmond’s 'Totem and Chimera' drawings offer a concise view into the artist’s expansive practice. By consolidating familiar images from Richmond’s videos and photographs, the drawings confirm the essential connectedness of his constructed artistic universe. At the same time, a new tendril of his work emerges, as precise micron pen rendering finds itself interrupted by gestural, forceful lines made with felt-tip marker. These abrupt moments recall the defining tension in Richmond’s time-based works: the prevailing gulf between fantastic, often surreal intergalactic set-pieces and characters, and their knowingly hyper-terrestrial, very real actualities. In his videos, photographs, and drawings, Richmond explores genre, material expectations, and our appetite for connecting signs to find meaning. All the while, the artist delights at variously subverting and exploiting these elements in service of his ever-expanding earthbound cosmology.

Throughout, Richmond’s lines remain meticulously varied, giving the images a nearly xeroxed effect, at first look. The fast, pressurized scribbles, by contrast, read as immediate and urgent–collisions of the planned and the spontaneous. Like the Richmond universe at large, the unexpected gives way to understanding and a distinctive empathy prevails, illuminating the often unexplained.