Three soft columnar strokes of warm gray loom out of a ghostly white ground. They’re pocked with thick clots of bright red and blue, a slash of yellow and, curiously, a black teardrop -- an odd half-representational shape, both ancient and contemporary, that calls forth, especially, a delirious range of associations from the classic era of American abstraction, the legacy of Gorky, Gottlieb, and Baziotes. We seem suspended in what might be called the Post-War ethos -- but “Post-War” isn’t what it used to be. These days it’s used to sell catalogue furniture and New York real estate as well as art – an upbeat branding add-on that still, if you listen closely, carries echoes of trauma, of millions of lives lost, of ascendant communism, and even, faintly, of existential despondency. Ayn Choi’s project embodies the complexity of experiencing -- from two continents – what must still rank as the most self-contradictory of all self-contradictory periods, the moment that saw the publication of Irving Sandler’s The Triumph of American Painting.
But this isn’t the only moment that Choi’s work conjures up, only one of the most conspicuous. Like Yoshihara Jirō and other artists of the Gutai collective in late-1950s Japan, Choi uses a ground-up, organic sensibility to stitch together a panoply of trans-historical moment/moods. A series of large unstretched canvases shares an intuitive relationship with both Clyfford Still (yellows and acid blacks) and with international movements like Arte Povera and even Beuysian Fluxus (a thin wire curls around a brighter-yellow shape like a tangling kite string trying to anchor the historical disparities of this complex project). The exertion of simple biomorphic forms, pullulating with erotic suggestion, breaks against Choi’s canvases. Other paintings hang loose, unstretched—skins of former lives, or garments that might cloth nascent possibilities. A colossal purple amoeba claws at us over the horizon, apparently ready to devour anything, even abstraction itself. Another curly wire outlines a smudged black shape suggestive of some kind of vase -- as Yoko Ono says in a teacup context, “Ask a friend to help mend” – tagged with the triad of red, yellow, and soft chalky blue that reoccurs here in so many sizes and scales. A spectral white-on-black smear threatens to eat its way out of its gold frame. The deeper we look into Choi’s work, the morewe see; this project, in all its complexity, realizes and portends things to come from an artist of profound sensitivity. David Rimanelli 2016
Ayn S Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Palo Alto, California. She received her BA from UCLA and moved to NYC in 1983. Her work has been exhibited at: Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea, MoNA, Detroit, Aurora Public art Chicago, Cape Cod Museum of Art, LABspace MA, Lesley Heller Workspace in New York City, LABspace MA , the Centennial Anniversary of the Fountain Art Fair at the 69th Street Armory, The Last Brucennial curated by the Bruce High Quality Foundation and Vito Schnabel in 2014 and solo show at The National Arts Club (New York) 2010. "Soonest Mended" curated by David Rimanelli opens April 2016. Ayn S Choi lives and works in New York City.
ASC Project Space: West Chelsea Arts Building. Showings by appointment. firstname.lastname@example.org