Rethinking the material qualities of mirrors and reflective surfaces, Abigail Chang’s solo exhibition presents eight objects of varying shape and scale that borrow from everyday mirrors—from cosmetic, to full-length, to rearview, and to safety. “Reflections of a Room,” on view at Volume Gallery, is a testament to Chang’s work that has been examining transparency, blurriness, reflection and flatness. Here, she uses materials like stainless steel, glass and felt. She then examines the aftereffects they produce when light travels through them—much like the camera’s aperture.
Some mirrors stand on the floor, others sit on pedestals or hang on the wall. The gallery space becomes a playground of shadow and light. The eight prismatic objects serve as windows inviting the viewer to approach and attempt a closer look seeking their blurred reflection as if they are themselves part of the work. Or maybe they are.
From exhibitions and performance, to buildings, interiors and objects, Chang, who is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, has been long researching the portal elements of mirrors and reflective surfaces. Her experience, spanning architecture and landscape architecture from Los Angeles, to New York, to Chicago, to Basel and to Tokyo, informs her work with geometric qualities and an imposing structure that defies their actual size. The minimalist exhibition set-up adds a sense of mystery. The objects serve as invisible portals wherein one rethinks contemporary lives, challenging authenticity, values and the aesthetic and social aspects of material culture.
Chang’s reflective surfaces affirm the viewer through their own reflection: When one moves, the reflection changes, pulling them into questions of perspective as they acknowledge the power to shape what we see. Turning the viewing process into a personal experience one cannot help but rethink issues of truth and illusion, beauty and vanity, confidence and skepticism—and ultimately the Self.
“Reflections of a Room” is on view at Volume gallery, 1709 West Chicago, second floor, through August 13.
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