Village Voice: Reconstructing Paper

By ROBERT SHUSTER

After you’ve risen seven floors above the ramshackle fast-food joints of Hell’s Kitchen, the tidy, gentle pieces here, from two artists who work with paper, seem almost like gifts. Laura McCallum brings a minimalist sensibility to organic forms, filling small polygonal and almond-shaped reliefs with networks of folded or furled paper strips, patterns that suggest the motion of cells. Employing symmetry, sequence, and familiar geometry, she makes metaphors of life—finely crafted frameworks of logic that contain moments of apparent disorder.

For her part, Hilda Shen has layered wedges of cotton-fiber sheets, painted on the reverse for a washy bleed-through effect, to form what appear to be, at first glance, accomplished abstractions. In each, jagged patches of brown surround a central swath of blue. But they’re actually the tunneled glimpses of sky you get when peering up the city’s canyon walls. More playful are Shen’s two intimate drawings of wobbly dark paths, both made using a broken mechanical pencil containing ink, and both intended as subtle jokes on the journeys of Chinese landscape.

Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, 555 Eighth Ave, 212-594-4066. Through June 4


April 27, 2010