One needs to look closely at Yuh-Shioh’s work, because it’s a little bit deceptive. What initially appears to be a field of bold, abstract color slowly reveals a small animal caught in a rainstorm, or a tree with prying eyes. Her sculptures employ a similar device. In Retarded Locomotive (is it ok to say retarded?) for instance what looks at first to be an amateurish blob of clay is actually a funny little scene with two bird-like creatures riding on a leaf. This kind of clever manipulation of materials and ‘professionalism’ characterizes Wong’s work.
A more somber sculptor then Wong, Jackson methodically applies academic and cultural references to carefully chosen materials. In Precious Things he plops a furry creature inside a pen made out of birds-eye maple that is more ornate then logic dictates in a thinly veiled reference to the tapestry ‘The Unicorn in Captivity.’ Jackson also makes sculptures which are solely to be shown as photographs. Blown Away Column for instance, is a column that seems to be vanishing. What initially looks like poor digital manipulation turns out to be a meticulously crafted optical illusion. Jackson’s sculptures often deal with perception and structural integrity, as in Upside down Obelisk a Washington Monument-esque tower balanced on its point and vaguely supported by some branches.
Emdur’s work is in the socially conscious friendly genre (if there is one). She has taken pictures of optimist clubs and lottery winners, collected lifetime goals of people of various ages, and had girl scouts sell cookies at her opening. Her work could easily become sentimental but it skirts this danger with its earnest, straightforward presentation. Unlike some other socially-engaged artists there is no condescension towards her subjects, rather a seemingly genuine admiration.
Much of the time when an artist tries to work in a variety of mediums it’s a mess. Shimizu however is able to slip seamlessly between painting, photography, sound and video. In his photography he tends to find sculptural objects and make curious pictures of them. In Roses for instance what is just burlap protecting some flowers starts to look like a haunted zombie garden. His recent watercolors are abstract, but have a similar dark quality. Shimizu’s work can also be seen gracing the last few Cass McCombs albums and the forthcoming Deerhoof album The Runners Four.
This mysteriously aliased young artist hails from the Pacific Northwest. His work reflects these roots as much of it has a rural feel. For instance, he designated his old apartment a hotel, and elaborately decorated it with artificial flora and fauna. The bathroom was particularly delightful, being made up like an orange grove. His sculptures often play with this relationship between the man-made and nature, such as a handmade leaf, or a dandelion with a white cone around it isolating it from the landscape. In another piece he collaborated with Alyse Emdur and installed signage in a tangerine grove stating it’s function. This is part of a larger project in which the goal is exploring where the food we eat comes from, and what steps one can take for sustainable living.