The way that interiors are rendered has been heavy on my mind lately, thanks to the glorious Vilhelm Hammershøi exhibit at The Frye Art Museum. I don’t see much that resembles Hammershøi’s rarified interiors at Seattle Art Fair 2016. Instead, I see some wildly imaginative views that range from the sinister, to the abstract to the joyful. Here are some of my favorites.
Paul Kasmin Gallery (New York City, NY), Booth B7
“Maquette for Checkpoint” by Roxy Paine
Roxy Paine is one of the stars of this year’s SAF, with his eerie diorama installation “experiment” drawing constant crowds. Seattle residents ought already to be familiar with one sculpture by Paine: his metal “tree” actually titled “split” at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Paine’s exquisite work with woods and lighting is more evident at the Seattle Art Fair, including “experiment” and also “Maquette for Checkpoint” at the Paul Kasmin Gallery booth. Both create monochromatic, uninhabited interiors that imply surveillance, control, a bureaucratic detachment. What might otherwise be a simple architectural model is skewed just enough to become deeply sinister. There’s a banality here, to be sure (perhaps of evil), but the work as a whole is anything but banal.
Upfor (Portland, OR), Booth A28
“Animita 2” by Rodrigo Valenzuela
Seattle audiences will probably remember how Rodrigo Valenzuela transformed the greathouse gallery at The Frye Museum in early 2015 for his solo show Future Ruins. Scaffolds displayed his large monochromatic photographs of interiors, layered with building supplies and other large scale photos (sometimes peeling away), creating dreamy trompes l’oiel that exploded and flattened the ability to perceive depth in the space. “Animita 2” continues in that vein, but its elements are even more varied and otherworldly, including sculptures that were displayed alongside the photos in his recent collection of work, Sin Héroes (shown in L.A. and Houston). The presence of organic matter in “Animita 2” makes it feel more “lived in,” but just what could live (or conjure) in this strange space is left to the imagination.
GAMO GALLERY (Seoul, Korea), Booth A31
“Room with Light” by Hwang Seon-Tae
The lightbox works of Hwang Seon-Tae are among the most visually delighting things at the fair. Simplistic renderings of domestic interiors painted on glass spring to life as Hwang blasts translucent portions which are then lit from behind to give the illusion of light streaming in from a window, across floors and furnishings, as if seen on a lazy, languid afternoon that never ends. Not only does it give depth to the images, it inspires a deeper appreciation for how natural light transforms the spaces we inhabit, moment by moment.
The 2016 Seattle Art Fair runs from August 4 through August 7. Learn more and buy passes on the Seattle Art Fair website, and check out all our coverage of the booths, events and the vision of the fair as a whole.