Anne Yafi: Abstract Playground
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 20, 2019
Exhibition dates: April 20 - May 18, 2019
Anne Yafi’s multi-media work exists at the intersection of painting, drawing and sculpture, creating playful works that combine traditional mediums with functional objects addressing consumer and craft culture via an orientation towards pleasure. Yafi trained as a painter at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb (BFA, 2011) and began her site-responsive installation work while studying at The School of the Art Institute Chicago (MFA, 2015).
Yafi’s solo shows include Dip In My Daydream, at 65GRAND (Chicago), Does It Feel Delicious, at Kruger Gallery (Chicago), and Fresh Work, at Free Range (Chicago). Artist-in-Residence at ACRE (Steuben, WI). Yafi maintains a studio at her home in Algonquin, IL and at Mana Contemporary Chicago.
I view my pipe cleaner work(s) as three-dimensional paintings, an exercise in breaking free from the dimensional limitations of the pictorial frame by exploring the poetics of space. Pipe cleaners provide lineation, repetition and mediated elements of color that visually and tacitly engage the viewer through the representation of holding attention. They (pipe cleaners) are exceptionally lightweight and cozily inviting yet withstand gravity and provide a hidden strength and functionality that belies their appearance, thus I exploit the contradictory qualities of this material in reference to the body, feminism, and the ownership of space as the underlying narrative.
“Abstract Playground” is a site-relational installation created for boundary. It is largely constructed onsite over a period of days without a formal plan other than the pipe cleaner grid’s systematic structure which functions as an allegory for how painters negotiate the pictorial frame or canvas. This as an intuitive process that involves a selection with consideration for color and value relationships as I “paint” in the third dimension. The title “Abstract Playground” functions as a double-entendre. First, in placing the work as a conceptual abstract painting by creating a visually immersive and perceptual experience that captivates the viewer’s attention. The grid is suspended from the ceiling’s rafters and is attached to the gallery’s central viewing wall with handmade ceramic push pins or “knobs” that establish a dialogue with the wall’s vertical plane - or conceptual canvas; the grid then projects outward into the space itself, establishing a perceptual depth of field that reads as fore, mid and background. Secondly, the title implies an invitation or engagement into a playful environment. Strung IKEA purler beads floating along clear fishing wire in addition to the pipe cleaners creates the illusion of negative space and possible entry into the grid. However, like its grid predecessors, the installation is built without entry as a metaphor on the contemporary viewing experience (immersive vs. barrier) with screen time, passive viewing and thwarted desire. Additionally, this lo-fi pipe cleaner grid, unlike its rational art historical predecessors has a plush and wonky geometry that conveys a vulnerability, pathos and humor in contemporary existence through economical means and with the use of craft materials. — Anne Yafi April 201