“A Body of Water” is a relatively stark exhibition consisting of six nearly monochromatic oil paintings and a contemplative single-channel video projection of infinite waves. Overall, the highly formal presentation is a glimpse into an artist’s use of abstraction through a well-established medium, juxtaposed by a poetic representation through moving image. The contrasted aspects of the show do merge, as the artist uses the apt metaphor of memory to deconstruct the conceptual framework of time that runs throughout the exhibition.
Yossifor began with a set of limitations for the duration of her process. Each painting was allotted three days of focused work time, running the risk of feeling either incomplete or overworked. This is a formula that works to her advantage, however, and the consistent treatment within the paintings is commendable. Each appears to be suspended in a liminal space. The changing hand of the artist’s tools create a topographic language; there are smooth planes, scraped build up and a blunt, carved line that meanders throughout the surface. While the overwhelming white oil paint—thick in application and densely layered—threatens to become solely about frenetic texture, a softer color palette emerges from beneath in increments, beckoning a closer look.
In the adjacent room, the video work “A Body of Water” plays on a continuous loop in silence. Projected with an expansive and cinematic aspect ratio, the work is reminiscent of the many precedents of visual waves before it, the drawings of Vija Celmins immediately coming to mind. As the video is spurred by a childhood memory of being submerged in the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli artist seems to have used the ubiquitous imagery to ignite a subjectivity we all have; the memory of floating, of feeling weightless, of resisting the wave or accepting its sudden shifts. (Brit Barton)
Through January 14 at Patron Gallery, 673 North Milwaukee