David M. Roth of art journal Squarecylinder expertly reviewed the Miya Ando exhibition Oborozuki (Moon Obscured by Clouds), on view at Nancy Toomey Fine Art inside Minnesota Street Project through February 22, 2018.
Miya Ando @ Nancy Toomey
by David M. Roth – January 11, 2018
Many artists attempt to concretize the notion of temporality by creating works that point to the slippery nature of perception. The most successful, not surprisingly, are those aligned with the Light and Space movement. Miya Ando, a half Japanese, half Russian-American New York artist whose forebears were swordsmiths, joins their ranks by manufacturing her own brand of perception-bending effects. She paints aluminum panels with inks and pigments that when heated, abraded and treated with chemicals, yield anamorphic effects that feel closer to those exhibited by photographic tintypes than to anything seen in contemporary painting.
The viewing experience, depending on how it’s staged, can sometimes be elusive. That is because the works that comprise the artist’s current series, Oborozuki (Moon Obscured by Clouds), reveal themselves only in indirect natural light and only from certain viewing angles. To see them without the distraction of glare, ask the gallerist to turn off the lights. Once extinguished, the details of the compositions come into view: Flat expanses of seemingly inscrutable white ink give way to multi-dimensional cloudscapes whose faintly tinted hues and shapes shift according to where you stand. Duchamp famously spoke about how the viewer completes a work of art. With Oborozuki you may feel as if you’re creating it through the simple act of looking. However, with Ando looking is rarely simple.
Her 2016 show in this space, Atmosphere, featured paintings of shimmering ocean sunsets and moonrises, notable mainly for their seamless gradients and for how radical shifts in color could be summoned by simply moving around the room. Those same dynamics remain in effect, except now the compositions are flatter and more complex. November Kumo (Cloud) 3 is emblematic of the series. Straight on, the work appears to show an opaque cloudbank as if seen from the vantage of an airplane. Stand to one side and the clouds part, opening up several different vistas, each a unique “composition.” The forms reveal no trace of the artist’s hand. Unlike Ando’s previous cloud paintings, in which shapes seemed to leap off panels like billowing cotton balls, these feel closer to vaporous exhalations. Colors also undergo transformations; they move from pure whites and dirty grays to sky blue and dark purple, with many gradations in between, depending, again, on your viewing angle. Read more…
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Miya Ando’s Oborozuki (Moon Obscured by Clouds) exhibition is on view at Nancy Toomey Fine Art through February 22, 2018.