ISABEL YELLIN UNDULATE
12 September - 3 October 2014
“I sometime use a crinkled polyester, a fabric that caught my attention because of how it reminded me of my mother's Issey Miyake clothes from the early 2000's. My mom had great clothes. The grout I use on a lot of work reminds me of tiled bathroom walls, which I associate with childhood bath-time with my sister, the stories and games we played there and how happy that time was…. There were many other times that were not so happy... It's all these little moments that somehow get wrapped up in specific materials that then lodge in my memory... Maybe I'm a bit cheesy...”
Vigo gallery presents Undulate, the first London solo show by Isabel Yellin.
Yellin makes fizzy, contemporary, painterly, abstract works. Attractive, sharp and playful, they look like catchy 1980’s pop songs trying to burst out of a clutch of heavy 1950’s action paintings.
Each of the wall-hung works here are made from a collage of found and bought materials, fabrics; denim, polyester, old cotton bed sheets and passages of netting and mesh, onto which Yellin then paints. Hanging loosely, stretcher-less, the works occupy a space between sculpture and painting. They read like paintings but some of their critical characteristics are sculptural.
The way the works hang and droop, the folds and undulations of the fabrics and their varied textures, all heighten the presence of the works in space. Yellin deploys the fabrics with compositional verve, using their colour and forms to create each works’ pictorial substance. For the artist these materials incorporate a further layer of meaning, linking particular fabrics and colours with a clutch of personal memories through an almost synesthetic series of associations. Onto all this Yellin then paints with a happy fluidness, sometimes, brief scribbles, sometimes, thick bands of paint.
In Undulate Yellin has used the variety of modes and means of expression at her disposal to make a body of work with considerable range.
Mood Lighting 1, to take one piece, is a brilliant essay in economy of expression. A single sheet of fabric folded over itself and sewn into place, the top part sloping irregularly down towards the right hand side of the work, casting a shadow and making depth, form the main body and simultaneously background of the work. Onto this sits with effortless elegance, three further elements having a conversation; a square patch of white cloth, a drippy scribble of yellow brown acrylic paint and, a little way off, a vertical strip of dark blue gaffer tape.
That Big Little Number by contrast is a larger, busier, showstopper. A heavy piece of denim dominates a white sheet that hangs down forming the skirt of the work. A crumpled-round the-edges translucent light blue material is stitched onto the dark blue. Onto large areas of these variegated surfaces, Yellin applies fast sweeps of black paint and a few tribal marking-like lines of turquoise on the light blue material, setting up a concatenation of blue hues. Finally, completing the work with finesse and poise, is a long, squiggly line of yellow that descends vertically, counterpointed on the right by a shorter, fatter, parallel line of yellow bleached into the fabric and on the left by a sparky, bright orange piece of string.
With an album-like completeness, Undulate is a show of breezily beautiful yet impressively accomplished works by a talented new, young painter.
Artist Q & A interview with Nick Hackworth August 2013 is available on request: [email protected]