Los Angeles

Linda Roush-Hudson

Thomas Solomon's Garage

Moonlight served as the model for the light that emanated from, was reflected by, and shone through the human-scaled, domestic-inspired devices in Linda Roush-Hudson’s show, “Lamp Light,” which consisted of found objects, blown glass, translucent fabric, and printed Plexiglas. Like moonlight, the luminosity of her discreet works is derived from an invisible source: it is, in a sense, recycled light. But Roush-Hudson’s meticulously crafted objects are less concerned with environmental consciousness than with peripheral vision. With impressive consistency, the young Los Angeles-based artist scrutinizes the point at which vision loses its distinctness, aligning this loss of focus with an exploration of the way thoughts enter consciousness. More precisely, her delicate, exacting art gives exquisite physical form to the way the mind sometimes seizes upon fleeting intuitions and turns them into circumscribed entities and representable forms.

Roush-Hudson’s table-top arrangements of glass fragments, lamplike contraptions, a suspended sphere, floating planes, and open yet inaccessible vessels maintain the viewer’s interest not because of their fragile beauty, seductive elegance, or intriguing other worldliness, but because they are nonrepresentational instances of the mind’s capacity to transform intangibility itself—to turn elusive, impalpable ideas into seemingly stable, static configurations. What keeps her works from becoming precious collectibles destined to do nothing other than adorn, embellish, and decorate existing environments is their continual capacity to defeat one’s tendency to objectify them, to treat them as sculpture. Roush-Hudson’s maddeningly uncategorizeable objects frustrate expectations by eliciting a phenomenological adjustment, highlighting what we usually think of as incidental insignificant details.

The harder you stare at these complex, material illusions, the more you feel you should be looking somewhere else—especially if what you’re looking for is resolution, closure, certainty. Focusing on Roush-Hudson’s ostensibly autonomous objects is doubly frustrating because their beautiful, indeterminate surfaces both draw the eye toward their random patterns of soft pink and pale green, and invite the mind to drift away, to follow its own whimsical movements and inconsistencies.

Rather than fitting into established categories, Roush-Hudson’s pristine works risk not being seen. They gracefully elicit a type of attention that is not focused, probing, and acquisitive, but rather dispersed, gliding, aimless. Located at the elusive point when sight sometimes intersects with insight, Roush-Hudson’s deceptively simple constructions—and superficially static illusions—embody the possibility that thought, like light, might engage us most fully when consciousness isn’t wholly in control. Continually circling around their own disappearance, these works hold us most powerfully under their influence by releasing us to our own ungovernable movements. Like the orbit of the moon, they don’t revolve around a fixed center, but spin around something already in motion. They intensify a spiral that moves in at least two directions at once, inviting contradictions in order to revitalize thinking.

David Pagel