Lesley Kice Nishigawara – REPEAT

grid art installation

There’s something beautiful about the repetitions of mathematical models. Perhaps it’s that they represent the kind of perfection we never see in the real world. But even the beautiful, infinite fractals of the Mandelbrot set can become uninteresting when their visual spectacle becomes predictable. The repetitions of nature, of man-made things, of real life, though seemingly mundane, are infinitely more interesting and complex because they’re full of small imperfections. 

In her exhibition at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Lesley Kice Nishigawara adds another layer of complexity to these real life repetitions by abstracting them through time and human interaction. Repetition gives us a sense of familiarity and comfort such as when we see patterns or hear sounds over and over again. Repeated things can become so familiar that we don’t notice them anymore. The works in this exhibition ask us to spend a little more time to notice repetitions. Notice how shapes cast a shadow, notice how the shadow changes as the sun moves through the sky, notice how it comes alive when stirred by a breeze.

A large grid installation from ceiling to floor looks like it might have been sewn together from familiar objects, but we’re not sure what objects. Maybe canvas shopping bags? Or large fire hoses? We conjecture and we walk around the installation trying to figure it out.

A doorway, blocked off by a grid of white paper strips, compels us to look inside a room from the outside. We see an installation composed of more grids inside the room. As we shift our perspective to see more, lines move and crisscross before our eyes.

When we spend enough time with these repetitions, we notice the variations and imperfections and that’s where the real beauty lies. The artist accentuates these imperfections such as a yellow thread stitching together two dark pieces of fabric. The yellow thread speaks to us, saying, “here I am, I hold this together.”

Through many iterations, whether by the artist’s hands or by natural cycles, imperfections transform their parent objects into completely new things, unrecognizable things, alive things.

Lesley Kice Nishigawara – REPEAT, June 16 – August 11, 2018