Narrative and Language Find Many Forms: A Review of Lauren Spencer King and Hirofumi Suda at Regards

Hirofumi Suda, “Shall Unlock Forms,” 2016. Casted rope in jesmonite with ink (1 of 5 quipu/ketsujou from a larger installation that also includes 11 ink and gouache works on paper, and a ceiling-to-floor spiral curtain), 7 inches diameter

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Lauren Spencer King, despite her technical mastery in both drawing and watercolor, adds subtle, yet noticeable imperfections in the presentation of her work that eschew the more reasonable and calming expectations of level installation. A work titled “Fear” hangs too high, while an unframed watercolor called “Everything is Finished Nothing is Dead,” flaunts a kinked edge on the bottom of the piece and a deckled edge on the left side. Both sculptures sit on the floor, leaning against the wall. Slightly disruptive upon first notice, you realize these ticks of incompleteness lure the viewer into the fields of emotional depth from which King draws purpose. For instance, on the gallery’s second floor, King paints a densely layered landscape that packs nostalgia, darkness and spirituality into a strikingly minimal image titled “Witnesses.” Depicting King’s view of the woods behind her childhood home, the work blends the domestic and natural in a way that intersects thematically with Hirofumi Suda’s multifaceted piece “Shall Unlock Forms.”

Lauren Spencer King, “Everything is Finished Nothing is Dead,” 2016. Watercolor on paper on panel, 13 x 16 x 1 inches

Hung to the right of King’s “Witnesses,” these eleven ink-wash drawings displayed on a black painted wall read as familiar, yet indeterminable glyphs of Suda’s conceptual code. In addition to these drawings, five quipu (an Incan counting system made of a series of knotted ropes indicating numerical values) placed throughout the gallery comprise the second sculptural element of “Shall Unlock Forms.” Repeating the use of ink and the charcoal-grey tone of his drawings, Suda makes reference to “pre-civilization” methods of communication through the varied representations of a long-defunct language. Suda makes clear the origin of the discs from an archaeological context, but they are simultaneously meaningless in their abstracted reformation. Suda’s largest contribution to the exhibition, an oversized black spiral of fabric, reaches from floor to ceiling, but instead of concealing, this sinister column invites the viewer to join Suda’s reasonable, if not mystical, research practices. Where King uses natural elements like peach pits and honey to create slow sculptures of personal narratives, Suda forgoes the self to study the associative images involved with language itself.

Through May 28 at Regards, 2216 West Chicago

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