Critics’ Picks

Kelly Akashi, Activity Table, 2016, cherry wood, wax, glass, wick, 72 x 40 x 63".

Kelly Akashi, Activity Table, 2016, cherry wood, wax, glass, wick, 72 x 40 x 63".

Los Angeles

Kelly Akashi

François Ghebaly
2245 E Washington Blvd.
November 12–December 23, 2016

The objects in this exhibition take shape slowly, crystallizing through a careful, layered process of looking. These works have been blown, cast, twisted, burned, assembled, dipped, duplicated, and printed, creating little trails of existence. Kelly Akashi has clearly contemplated her materials. Devoid of apparent narrative, however, they manifest as stoppages in time.

Hairy Weed (all works cited, 2016) looks like a dead plant, placed strategically in the cracked concrete floor of the gallery. But it is a re-creation, its delicate leaves made of copper, not decaying organic matter. You wouldn’t know it unless you studied it, just as Akashi likely studied the plant that inspired this piece. Sentimentality, or some approximation of it, plays a quirky, sometimes humorous role in other, equally rigorous works, including Be Me (Japanese-Californian Citrus), a stainless-steel cast of a lumpy, lovely citrus fruit, and At Rest, made up of bronze casts of the artist’s hands, hung delicately through slipknots tied in rope.

In Arrangements I, II, and III as well as Activity Table, twisted, shapely candles and sensual blown-glass vessels are assembled on wooden furniture, foregrounding relationships between objects and bodies. Clearly, our environment isn’t shaped solely through space, architecture, or even nature. The slow, tender mutability of Akashi’s work quietly asks us to accept the complexity of objects and the unexpected, in order to remain engaged in a process of discovery.