Showcasing pieces that range in scale from intimate wall works to a large floor piece assembled in-situ at the gallery, South’s new works see her characteristic architectural and industrial forms continue to proliferate into ever more dense and engaging constructions. While continuing to use cut, folded and painted paper (reviewing her last solo exhibition at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Artforum magazine described South as equal parts structural engineer and virtuoso origamist), the artist here moves away from the more fragile constructions of her early work toward more robust forms, often bolstered by wooden frames.
A major new freestanding piece forms the centerpiece of the show. Towering the full height of the gallery’s 16ft ceiling, the work’s U-shaped footprint will allow viewers to walk inside, as if the wall works have been broken down and their individual components reassembled modular-style on an open framework. The ability to move around, into and out of the piece is a new departure for the artist’s work, multiplying the viewpoints from which it can be seen, doubling and tripling the overlapping lattices with their optical moiré patterns and giddy leaps in scale from the intimate to the immense.
Standing back, the piece gives the impression of some arcane mechanized structure whose function is long since forgotten. It seems somehow aware of its own redundancy, its faded pink coloring suggesting that the artist’s previous muscular industrial reds have been left to idle and fade (or recalling the Sysiphean paint jobs on New York City bridges, never completed, one end newly painted, the other already flaking).
A circular piece built into the gallery’s partition wall is also emblematic of the artist’s new work. Resembling the architectural feature of an oculus, eye-like the piece bulges out from the wall on one side, allowing chinks of light to come through from behind the partition. But only partially. Obfuscating as much as it enlightens, we are required to approach, peer into, and move around its mutely staring frame in order to marvel at its intricate interior.