Hometown is proud to present Passing Index, an exhibition of new work by Lilian Kreutzberger and Yasue Maetake. The show will include wall reliefs and sculptural work by each artist.
An index is an indicator or measure of something, a sign that denotes an external reality, be it material or cultural. Kreutzberger and Maetake’s works display indexical traces of extensive working over, with marks that reflect process and hint at former states of being. Employing a visual vocabulary that is abstract yet suggestive, these works intimate systems which may be architectural, social, technological, or ecological.
Lilian Kreutzberger creates image-objects featuring repeated abstract, rectilinear forms. Her recent wall reliefs are made from laser-cut wood and plaster, often dyed with acrylic paint. At once familiar and strange, they evoke unfinished diagrams, fossilized computer motherboards, unreadable hieroglyphs—systems once ubiquitous and essential, now in varying states of disuse and decomposition. In her sculptural “mouldings,” Kreutzberger creates networks of domestic wall or corner mouldings that adapt to their surrounding architecture. Oddly shaped borders with no interiors, these constructions gesture toward an absent center and, in effect, toward their own obsolescence.
This engagement with the built environment stems from Kreutzberger’s interest in early-to-mid 20th century architects, who envisioned architecture as capable of fostering happiness and social progress. Reconsidering this utopianism with canny historical awareness, her wall reliefs function as inscrutable floor plans that map unbuildable spaces. Attention to surface and its material properties recalls the legacy of Modernist painting, and with it the desire to distill painting to a pure expression of universal truths. Acknowledging the ill-fated nature of both Modernist projects—in architecture and in painting—Kreutzberger works within self-imposed rules designed to govern unruly materials, simultaneously demonstrating the impossibility of mastery.
Yasue Maetake’s sculptures, made from both raw and found materials—including polyurethane resin, metal, earth, paper, plexi-glass, and oil paint—conjure a range of associations, from the human to the zoological, industrial construction to natural growth. They resist categorization, evoking as-yet-unknown hybrid organisms, perhaps emissaries from a post-apocalyptic future. Maetake incites extreme transformations in her materials through casting, welding, burning, oxidization, or exposure to chemicals. As a result, both her sculptures and her wall reliefs appear to exist in arrested states of degeneration, their surfaces burned, stained, and rusted.
Yet Maetake describes her process as one of “reverse entropy,” suggesting that these objects defy the logic of decay and other natural factors—and indeed, there is a palpable tension between gravity and structure in Maetake’s sculptures, which, although freestanding, can still appear to struggle with—and to be bounded by—the force of their own weight. This reckoning with gravity also imbues the works with a temporal quality, suggesting the effect of time passing on objects of an indeterminate age. Additionally, in both Ascending Industrial Bouquets and Pedigree of Industrial Bouquets, for instance, Maetake salvages fragments of old invitation cards from one of her early exhibitions, incorporating these materials into the works’ translucent resin bodies. This repurposing is a potent metaphor for artistic production as life cycle, with obsolete material resuscitated into new and unexpected formations.
As we currently stand to witness seismic shifts in our environment—both political and ecological—Kreutzberger and Maetake’s considerations of failure, decay, and transformation, resonate as both elegy and world-wise reassurance, opening up possibilities in the face of an uncertain future.
-Text by Paula Burleigh
Lilian Kreutzberger's artistic practice addresses the dynamics between social culture and personal identity, on the one hand, and our built environment on the other. Kreutzberger's work has been exhibited at various public and private venues including the Gemeente Museum, The Hague, Netherlands; Matteawan Gallery, Beacon, NY; Fresh Window, Brooklyn, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; and the Royal Palace, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Kreutzberger has held residencies with the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), Brooklyn, NY; EYEBEAM, New York, NY; Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, Netherlands; and the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF), Jersey City, NJ; and has been awarded grants from the Mondrian Fund as well as the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation; the Netherlands’ national Buning Brongers Award for painting; and a Fulbright Scholarship sponsored by the Netherlands America Foundation. Kreutzberger was also nominated for the Netherlands’ Royal Award for Painting in 2007, 2009, 2014, and 2015. Kreutzberger earned her MFA from Parsons, The New School, New York, NY; and her BFA from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague, Netherlands. Originally from Middelburg, Netherlands, Kreutzberger lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, and The Hague.
Yasue Maetake is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans sculpture, fiber, collage, and video. Maetake’s work has been exhibited extensively in the US and abroad at venues including the Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Netherlands; Galerie Fons Welters Project Space, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Harris Lieberman Gallery, New York, NY; On Stellar Rays, New York, NY; Espacio 1414, The Berezdivin Collection, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Queens Art Museum, Queens, NY; and Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL. Maetake has been a resident artist in the studio of El Anatsui in Ghana; and has received awards and fellowships including from the Agency for Japanese Cultural Affairs; New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA); and the Yoshino Gypsum Art Foundation; as well as the Joan Sovern Sculpture Award. Maetake earned her MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY; and studied at the Toyoma City Institute of Glass Art, Toyoma, Japan; along with the Prague Academy of Applied Arts, Prague, Czech Republic. Maetake lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens, and is originally from Tokyo, Japan.
Paula Burleigh, an Art Historian, is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a member of the faculty at Bard High School Early College, and a frequent lecturer at the Whitney Museum of American Art.