December 6, 2008

Cowie and Min in Seattle

In the Seattle P-I, Regina Hackett reviews Claire Cowie and Yunhee Min at James Harris Gallery. Cowie's inspiration is Hokusai, one of the masters of nineteenth-century Japanese painting and printmaking. Min, a recent grad of Harvard's Graduate School of Design, is flat, abstract and color conscious. "Cowie's insubstantial pageant looks as if it might melt into the air. Hung in one gallery, each piece extends into the other. A yellow brick road dips merrily into a middle distance before becoming, in the painting beside it, part of the Great Wall of China and later a ladder bridge failing to span a widening mass of white....The danger for Cowie would be veering off into cute or into illustration, neither of which is a danger here. What distinguishes this series is its silent and austere purity. It operates from elementary principles of the artist's devising, indebted to traditional Chinese landscape painting but richer and more fanciful than that; more private and rooted inside her own head.

"If geometry were a village, Min would be the village architect, and her floor plans would chart what remains after an earthquake cracked all the foundations. Her new work aligns with the great poets of slightly off geometries, such as Robert Mangold and Ralph Humphrey. Instead of flat, her colors give off a dull shine. Deep blue lifts the hem of a hot pink. Dried blood red muscles into baby blue. Perfection is for sissies." Read more.

"Claire Cowie and Yunhee Min," James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA. Through

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