April 14 - May 8, 2010
published on Sculpture Magazine
William V. Ganis | PDF

Nominally a painter, Jinny Yu explored materiality in her “Latest from New York" exhibition, which included sculpted pieces. She sees herself at the interstices of identity - of Korean birth, living in Ottawa, practicing in New York, Italy, Montreal, and elsewhere. Her work also operates in liminalities - between installation, sculpture, painting, gesture, and illusion. The seven works in the show mark conversations across these intermediate states, and while they make art historical references, they maintain a safe distance from the "specific objects" of the past. Yu's intermediations can be taken at face value now that the confines of Modernist media categories have been thoroughly undone.

Painting, Wiped, on Wall (2011) is an installation framed by ivory-black pigment. The reflective aluminum square is felt as a presence and as a void when contrasted by the paint – the scale, painterly textures, and site-specificity evoke Lawrence Weiner's A ''36 X 36" REMOVAL TO THE LATHING OR SUPPORT WALL OF PLASTER OR WALLBOARD FROM A WALL (1968). Many of Yu's works play with the notion of what is optically close, but physically distant. and in this instance, the aluminum square on the wall seems sunken within it.

The rumpled forms of Precarious (2011) stumble into space while grazing wall and floor-with this sculpted physicality, the thin, abstract, vertical marks read as a trompe l'oeil finish, suggesting the directional grain of "brushed" stainless steel. Yu's marks suggest industrial applications of oil for the protection and finish of metals. The folds of this piece reveal a uniform, white back-a "readymade" artifact of her industrial support that reads more as "painted" than the shimmering front. Crumpled (2011), a small piece, features the sculpted forms of this white field. The wall-hung Bent (2011) accomplishes a similar dialogue between material and illusion, but here, Yu's marks seems more organic and intentional - still, her purposeful gestures bring full circle the accidental "Abstract Expressionist" drips and other patterns on Donald Judd's galvanized boxes. Yu's metallic sheen adds another layer of complexity-the colors of reflected light sometimes have physical presence, they seem to be "of" the work and far more concrete than their condition as situational phenomena. The rumpled, floor-to-ceiling Stroke (2011) also possesses this effect, the long thin metal in dialogue with Roy Lichtenstein's "brushstroke" paintings from the mid-1960s as well as Matthew Ritchie's cut metal pieces from recent years.

The piece with the greatest presence in this exhibition was a wall sized work (with a nod to Richard Serra) consisting of black oil paint applied to a thin aluminum support. Painting (2011) is a conceptual title, a label of emphasis or priority for a work that is self-evidently painted but that has an unconventional, almost immaterial ground. Most pronounced here, but true of all Yu's works, her systematic touch-marks create a different kind of modeling, one in which any illusionistic spaces seem consequential, "sculpted" by the materiality of paint and the optically engaged "empty" spaces.