A small real estate brokerage in Wicker Park is an apropos venue for Rosemary Lee’s solo exhibition, “It happens that the stage sets break down.” The versatile office-as-gallery context thematically contributes to the installation of drawings and pliable sculptures, whether or not intentionally. The common element shared by “It happens that the stage sets break down” and Living Room Gallery? Ambiguity. Like the venue itself, Lee’s work combines to present the viewer with elements of a constructed space, albeit an indeterminate one.
In the four drawings from which the show’s name comes, dark geometric shapes allude to misshapen interiors, reduced to planar skeletons. Dark and light, horizontal and vertical combine to draft blueprints of vacant spaces, as silent as they are empty. The drawings’ material, Mylar, is fitting in its white opacity; it occupies what would be the interiors’ walls, adding murk to the already minimal.
Another of the show’s works, “Reconstruct,” more playfully addresses the theme of construction and confusion. A collection of gray, fabric bricks is strewn throughout one part of the gallery, some stacked, some fallen. The paradox of the bricks’ shape—connoting the solid—and the soft, stuffed fabric captures the uncertainty expressed in “It happens that the stage sets break down.” Ideas of stability are debated, but ultimately denied. Instead, the indeterminate spaces Lee constructs (or alludes to) exist somewhere between the fantastic and the familiar. (Justin Natale)