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“The View from the Window”

Chapter NY
249 East Houston Street
June 26, 2014–August 2, 2014

View of “View from the Window,” 2014.

The fragrance from Sophy Naess’s eight hanging soap slabs pervades this small white-boxed gallery, where curator Lumi Tan has presented works by three artists. Embedded in Naess’s soaps are tiny things: Pieces of weeds and flowers float next to funny trash items and found treasures. The contents are carefully arranged, whether suspended in color blocks or scattered just beneath the soap’s surface, and each tablet depicts a different landscape of secret meanings and spells. A take-away printout lists the ingredients in two clean yet crowded columns, with items ranging from “EYE OF HORUS” and “OCCASIONAL MELANCHOLIA” to “FRANK’S SEASHELLS” and “BROKEN LOCK ON SIDEWALK.” There’s a cosmological bent in the milky and wistful layers comprising each slab: Over time, the soap changes, warping and bending, responding to the climate with sweat and discoloration.

Ryan Mrozowski’s repeating patterns of floating orange orbs have an almost sinister effect against Naess’s organicism. The visual weight of these paintings is tempered by their strange flatness, where orange moons and shadowy green leaves cover each canvas in striking matte designs. Sara Magenheimer’s Radio Feeling Table, 2014, comprises a white-tiled platform that hosts an odd array of objects, arranged according to graphic and formal qualities: cosmic blue and pale green lie like powder along the surfaces of two painted-white peanut shells; a wiry metal toy rests on a ripped blue rubber glove, resembling the SPLAT! in comic strips. Each artist’s idiosyncratic engagement with order attributes an unexpected sensorial complexity to everyday forms, where it becomes clear that viewing is both sensing and sensemaking.

Samara Davis