Friday, February 20, 2009

Alison Yip: Drawings 2002-7

Alison Yip's new exhibition at CSA Space records her ongoing engagement with the act of drawing. Stylistic variety is the exhibition’s hallmark. Two paintings are hung on one wall. (These are properly considered drawings made with brushes and pigment, that emphasize contour and the “edginess” of their subjects.) But the exhibition largely consists of a swarm of paper drawings culled from a much larger image archive made from 2002 to 2007, which speaks to Yip's careful observation of the world around her, the people, animals, and objects occupying it, and her sensitivity to the subtleties of dress and gesture that define her human subjects.

Yip’s drawings are made in many different styles. Some are very tightly detailed, and are reminiscent of the carbon transfer drawings of haystacks and palm trees that she previously exhibited at Monte Clark Gallery, whose densely hatched lines achieve an effect akin to etching. Some are much looser, and executed in pastel, or crayon, or colored chalk. Some are on sheets of fine white art paper. Others are executed on hotel stationery, or yellow Post-Its, or torn out notebook pages.

By exhibiting these images side by side -- loose alongside rough, colorful next to black and white, “finished” beside hesitant and provisional – Yip asks us to focus not only on each drawing’s materiality, but on the thinking that animates her work process. Her democratic attention to the world is a kind of realism, one that does not attempt to pre-categorize experience.

Yip’s refusal to winnow down her drawings into just a few highly finished “works of art” asks us to look beyond the blunt facility of each individual drawing’s marks and gestures. Her art practice is informed and shaped by the daily encounters between her observing consciousness and the world.

Christopher Brayshaw
February 2009

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