Yui Yaegashi’s paintings are deceptively small. Against the broad, white walls of Parrasch Heijnen, they appear as tiny imperfections in an otherwise sterile environment. But, these small accents grow to an immense scale as you engage them.
Yaegashi’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles continues the legacy of artistic dialogue between the East and the West that artists such as John McLaughlin and Frederick Hammersley participated in. But, instead of searching for Zen perfection in formalist concerns of shape and pattern, she relies on rich layers of color that you fall into. Beneath areas of gray or blue, lay neon yellows, greens, and pinks that disrupt an otherwise monochromatic field. Both visible around an unfinished edge or pushing up against their overpaintings, these restless colors cause textures and brushwork to shift as the paintings’ surfaces cannot deny the undercurrents beneath them. In other works, these vibrant hues sit on top and visually levitate off the canvas asserting their prominence.
As for all of this visual interplay between colors, brushstrokes, and paint strata, it transpires across a very small area. Yaegashi’s paintings are no more than several inches, and I found their size enhanced by the gallery. Much like her abstract counterparts who rely on the visual neutrality of the white cube to activate their work, Yaegashi understands how to use context to her work’s advantage. Her small paintings exaggerate the walls’ size while at the same time the walls activate the paintings’ surfaces by emphasizing their robust visual complexity. The denseness of the paint is felt against the neutrality of its context. As I viewed the work, I eventually found myself jumping over the wall like a record needle skipping from note to note. Acting as visual chimes for meditation, these paintings signal your return to points of silent contemplation.
Yui Yaegashi: Fixed Point Observation runs December 10, 2016-January 21, 2017 at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery (1326 S. Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90023)