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Abstract paintings have the potential to be intelligently evocative, surprisingly narrative, and meditatively decorative. Sadly, these hanging fields often tend to become aimless green screens for people to project whatever they want onto them. Unlike the common static practice derived from within the isolated studio, Yui Yaegashi delivers mature pictures with humble direction and expansive tranquility. In her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Fixed Point Observation at Parrasch Heijnen, Yaegashi presents a dozen miniature slow-burners, fluctuating between soft and subdued planar works to fertile bursts of color and mildly neurotic brushwork. From one to the next, there is a broadly discernible reverence for an assortment of heroic minimalists without ever overstepping.
In the simple pastel charm of Ground Work No. 3, Yaegashi channels the seamless structures of Agnes Martin. In Ultramarine + Monochrome Tint Cool No. 1 and Beige, she samples Blinky Palermo’s playfully erudite New York riffs for her own ambient purposes. And in Exchange, she respectfully crops what could be a classic David Reed composition and invites all to get lost deeper in her own personal translations. The contained logic of each ample rectangle (all works 2016) is supplemental to the thematically consistent serenity.
On the whole, Yaegashi reveals a calm confidence and measured patience that together strive towards displaying a sophisticated awareness, acknowledging the fact that shortcuts cheapen the endgame. She is slowly and steadily engendering her own voice in an eternal clamor. Perhaps the most eloquent and emblematic example here is the ironically titled White Line—the most colorful piece in the show. With visceral strokes, layered at various speeds and consistencies, Yaegashi takes a welcome detour off the heavily beaten road of geometry, and somehow manages to massage a mellow intellect back into the canvas. Abstraction can be as selfish or as generous as the painter chooses it to be, and Yaegashi proves she recognizes the viewer can only receive as much as the artist is willing to offer.
Yui Yaegashi: Fixed Point Observation runs through January 21, 2017 at Parrasch Heijnen (1326 South Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90023).