Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

2019 1st links
2018 Summary
End of 2018 Links
PNCA + OCAC Merger Off
Loss of Material Evidence at Hoffman Gallery
Hoffman Gallery Changes at Lewis and Clark?
1st Weekend Picks
Meow Wolf The Movie
Giving Thanks Readings
Meet RACC's new leader Madison Cario
November Reviews
Early November Links

recent comments



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us


Contact us






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License

Saturday 08.31.13

« Hsueh Wei at Linfield College | Main | Monday Links »

Yoonhee Choi at Blackfish

Most art today is very goal oriented... so much so that it discovers nothing so much as the outcome it proposed from the outset (which is usually a secret handshake for some subculture acceptance rather than a personal exploration). In short it "belongs" to a discreet discussion or group rather than extend its orbit and relevance. This is a narrowing of Art's capabilities, which is a parochialism and I find it too linear. It is just too predicated upon finding or attracting an defined audience or peer group (which has already been isolated by much more savvy marketers in the non art world). Whereas, the truly great stuff just sits outside the standard definitions and doesn't need to draw a crowd. It is neither trying to be professional, nor is it fitting in... it simply persists in its exceptionalism. Besides, the problem with goals is that they typically shut down the process right when it could become interesting and unanticipated. In short, to quote the late Robert Hughes art should be an avocation not a vocation.

Mooring (detail)

In contrast to the parochials, Yoonhee Choi is an artist who is all about distilling the immediacy of the moment with a kind of designer's shorthand. It is stripped down with an elegant urgency and as such her work is a sensitive instrument of the present. I'd even go so far to say that Choi's show rePLACING at Blackfish brings a refreshing poetic poise to an Portland August more populated with a fetish of effort or form over the idiomatic refinements.

Perhaps it is her training as an architect at Yale but instead of creating work that began as an interest or explanation (which is very art school), Choi's work exists as a kind of meditation upon the possibilities available. She chose a provisional simplicity, lyricism and an improvisational sense of wonder through line color and dots over any pedagogy. This is a work for sensing and as such is like the forked tongue of a serpent, or antenna of an ant... it has no goal but to be sensitive.

Agent, 2013

For example her works on paper resemble circuit diagrams or a project manager's sketchpad exploration of a problem, utilizing black or blue ink and mostly primary colors, lines and basic shapes like circles and squares. For example, a work like Agent almost looks like a floor plan, or notes on the performance of some real estate agent showing a house. In another work Cabaret, the lines, dots and colors seem to dance like musical notations ala Paul Klee. There is more than a little Bauhaus constructivism at work here... recalling Kandinsky's later work but I dislike the white frames and glass they are mounted in. Somehow the glass deadens the wonder and texture of these delicate schematic works, which would be better presented without frames and glazing. This does not happen to the show's star Mooring though.

Mooring (detail)

Consisting of hundreds of stick pins numerous washers,an entire 30 ft wall, tiny dots of color and popped balloons this piece is exceptional. Each pin is like a pole, flagging the viewers attention with some Lilliputian semaphore. Some are porous circles hung up for the day like some gnome's hula hoop. Other are tiny sandwiches of wonder with a swatch of fabric, some foam and a dab of color on the pin head. Kinda like a elf seamstress trying to convey secret messages. It is completely charming and engaging forcing the viewer to address the wall in a very intimate way that has more design to it than Richard Tuttle in that this seems to invite a semiotic explanation as everything seems like a type of shorthand or punctuation. I love this shift in scale making the largest work in the room the most intimate, in fact Mooring harnesses some of appeal of the fly fishing lure, and she is deft at dangling the bait before our eyes.

Yoonhee Choi, Mooring 2013 (detail)

This reminds me how Dada, Pop and Abstract expressionism were all key precursors to minimalism. For Choi's work the ready made and everyday re purposed in stoic automatism of Mooring recalls everything from Miro's constellation series to Julie Mehretu and Sarah Sze. The sense in all of them is wonder and activity but Choi and Miro are the only two I find poetic in their uncluttered appreciation of the line, dot and color block... a. I want to see more from Choi.

(*note, today is the last day of the show)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 31, 2013 at 11:03 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee