Landings • MM Yu

Dec 12, 2020, to Jan 9, 2021 • Upstairs Gallery

Using photography and painting as her artistic media, MM Yu’s works capture abstraction created by interactions between the forces of chance, control and gravity. With a shrewd and humorous eye, her photography frames and turns banal urban landscape into abstract patterns, while her paintings intimately focus on the materiality of commercial colors.

The exhibition presents a series of paintings, which indicates the current location of MM Yu’s ongoing exploration of marks made by paint drips. In contrast to her earlier works, in which paint of various hues were simply yet deliberately dropped straight down across the surface, the recent works exhibited here contain a heightened degree of tensions and negotiations made between the artist’s intention and the Earth’s gravity, embodied like an unsteady graph. The irregularity of patterns elucidates the unattainability of absolute control. While layers of paint manifest the repetition of the process, it simultaneously conveys the impossibility of replication.

Since the beginning of her experimentation with the materiality of paint, MM Yu has approached the surface as a physical element, foregrounding flatness and depth simultaneously. Immersed in dialogue with the space, her paintings create an environment, where we become aware of the play of gravity that pulls down not only the paint and canvas but also our own bodies to the ground.

The eye also regains its physical presence as an organ that detects and sends the raw data of light and color to the brain, which tries to discern the information by looking for patterns that connect with memory and knowledge from the past experience. Thus, while the mechanism of vision is physiological, perception is subjective. MM Yu’s artwork allows us to see such essential variance of perceptions.

To the eyes of some, the intricate patterns in a desaturated color palette may evoke rusts, dusts and decays of the polluted urban life. Others may associate them with camouflage patterns, which stand in stark contrast to serene white walls. The marks of bobbing motions may appear as amassment of heartbeats, or a lifeline. (Mayumi Hirano)