Out of Boundsby Ben La Rocco
At sunset in the Bronx in the gardens of Wave Hill, the light slants through the open windows and doors at Glyndor House. From inside, the smell of fruit trees in bloom seems to press in from all directions. This makes for tough competition for the nine artists in Out of Bounds, a group exhibition that explores landscape through mural work framed by the pronounced molding of Glyndor’s Georgian Revival interior. Georgian Revival favors regular geometry, and the artists are forced to fill a challenging void between the architecture within and the landscape without.
In Glyndor’s southernmost room, Amy Yoes is well seen in evening light. Her red wrought-iron forms are painted with a free hand brought to heel to edge several of the ceiling’s supports. These structures reveal themselves to be her point of departure. They seem to provide the impetus for Yoes’s cleanly brushed forms, crystalline on the white walls. But the joke is on you because Yoes made the supports too. In the next room, Lucas Monaco looks chunky by comparison. His drawings are literally chunks of bird’s-eye views of the Bronx painted on canvas framed by molding. The drawings are exquisitely rendered in black, sienna, and green on a white void. Their delicacy is threatened by ripples in the canvas that are visible beneath the gallery lights.
In the hall, Jeffrey Gibson rendered organic forms with a rigger’s line. On a dioxazine-glazed ground, Gibson highlights winding roots, a fitting form for a stairwell. He finishes by adhering agglomerations of plastic crystals and purple goop—a touch of kitsch for an otherwise kitsch-free installation. Down the hall, in the vestibule, is Amy Chan, adding a touch of humor to an otherwise serious exhibition. She paints little bits of suburbia on floating islands. The Wal-Marts and Holiday Inns are unabashedly pedestrian and a bit of an awkward affront to Glyndor’s refined architecture. Chan’s work accommodates itself neither in form nor in placement. This is in opposition to Geraldine Lau’s cut vinyl installation, which deftly climbs the second stairwell. Computer executed, it has the unnerving feel of military imaging despite its pop colors.
In the next room Hilda Shen’s seaside collage is rough at the edges but snug within the molding—an admirable restraint for an apparently process-driven artist. She makes a charmingly disjunctive pair with the succinct Ulrike Heydenreich. Heydenreich makes panoramic drawings with a machine she built that looks like a cross between a wheelbarrow and a miniature watch tower. From the center of this well-built contraption the artist is able to make 360-degree drawings.
Vargas-Suarez Universal follows with a densely patterned room in greens and blacks. It’s a loud piece in the context of the exhibition and has an Art Deco feel due to its even pairing of curves and straight edges. It’s as though he were trying gently to urbanize the nature without.
Next is Yvonne Estrada. Her wintry installation is the most labor-intensive of the group. It’s composed like a painting, not schematized like a mural. It must have demanded constant attention to composition in execution and provides intricate imagery at all viewing distances. You could cut it up, thought I wouldn’t, and make dozens of small works. The wide breadth of its delicate forms—curved lattices, spirals, tendrils, and much more—seems to have grown from describing a sphere. This consistent logic gives the piece unity, while the strenuous labor that accompanied its creation gives it a vibrancy that makes one wonder if, had she been given the time, Estrada would have filled all of Glyndor.