In her second showing at the AndrewShire Gallery, Yong Sin presents an ambitious set of new work. An under-recognized artist, Yong Sin has long been based in San Pedro, most recently in a spacious downtown storefront loft abuzz with many signs of activity amidst stacks of large paintings piled deep. While the new solo exhibition, titled, This is the Same, but Different extends the line of inquiry evident in the earlier 2007 exhibition, it can be considered the fruits from several new branches in the Yong Sin's artistic family tree.
From a distance, her works have the tidy appearance of paintings that readily reference geometric abstraction. However, it is on closer examination that the full measure of their telling distinctions and nuanced deviations become apparent--varied textures derived from materials such as masking tape, paper, and an assortment of decorative drafting tape that have been applied upon painted wooden panels, in which vibrant modulations of color are derived from the varying accumulations of semi-translucent masking tape or paper layers. These works then, are not paintings in the purist sense but something closer to mixed media collages. The methodical, labor-intensive, repetitive process that is manifest in these works, such as "Octagon" seems paradoxical to the visually playful, even whimsical and lyrical effect of the finished work.
The lively transformation resulting from a seemingly simple procedure - beginning with the undercoat of color that is then mediated by varied applications of strip upon strip of tapes or paper that proceeds from a set point, and ends inevitably, yet unpredictably without the use of a measuring instrument or straight edge - constitutes the crux of her work. Much of this extensive process takes place on the studio floor with the artist at work, positioned on top of the panels. This is an orientation in relation to the work at hand reminiscent of Jackson Pollock and his 'action paintings,' and not the prevailing position facing the work on a wall associated with the medium's more contemplative and optically privileging practices. This crucial distinction in the creative process interjects a measure of risk in the translation from the floor to the wall where the works finally rests. The artist embraces this intervention of chance in the creation of maze-like patterns in the desire to engage dualistic tension that she aptly identifies as "illusion/reality," "random/systematic," and "repetition/originality." The large, multi-paneled "Red Square" also recalls the push-pull lessons associated with the likes of a Hans Hoffman painting in which the optical effects of the color interactions take on an uncanny dimensionality of a topographical map, but even more so, with undulating effects that seems to boogy-woogy with the best of the Mondrians.
The exhibition also includes another set of works that are populated with human figures that appear to involve a different set of concerns. Yet again upon closer scrutiny, one appreciates the intersections between the two groups of work, linked by the shared process of collage and repetition. Both sets of work yield a lively wit in the profuse play of subtle variation. Originating from family photo album, the very anonymity of these template-processed figures devoid of facial features heightens our curiosity about their identity. These figures exceed their graphic 'same but different' reality as mere patterns, offering a Freudian, semiotic lesson in the working of the imagination.
The minimalist, conceptual underpinnings inherent in Yong Sin's practice, given expression with a rigorous dedication to repetition and patterning and her lyrical sense of color places her in the neighborhood established by Agnes Martin, Brice Marden, and Sean Scully, among others. A place where the artist will surely thrive.