Blowing From the East Fallen Leaves Gather in the West
The title of Anna K.E.’s exhibition at Simone Subal Gallery, “Blowing from the East Fallen Leaves Gather in the West,” alludes to the artist’s own background: K.E. was raised in the Caucasus region of Western Europe before relocating to New York City. Two walls slice the gallery into angles; each bears a chalk grid applied by snapping graphite-soaked string against the wall in an adaptation of the ancient Japanese sumitsubo.
On each wall are drawings that resemble schematics. Their symbols are more subtle and, perhaps, private: snakes wound up in small, north-facing coils; arrowed vectors of force; bright four-cornered stars. A mop of hair and a pair of musical staffs are visible on one slate-colored panel, wherein a small patch of fish scales mirrors the plume of clouds in another. In one drawing, exquisitely worked-over rhomboids are rendered with a feathery density; in another, rain spills softly. One section subverts a sense of space, depicting what looks like another interior with a patterned and painted-over wall.
An eponymous sculpture, Blowing From the East (2021), hangs from the ceiling via metal strings at the gallery’s center. Though the sculpture resembles a small-scale model of a city, its forms recall cheese graters, motherboards and metal components of mysterious machinery. Silver railings enclose ambiguous pockets of space; a winged tunnel transports imaginary passengers across space; soldered gates mark unsure lines like poorly structured scaffolding. Like fallen eastern leaves that gather in the west: this sculpture might reference the vast, generic bureaucracies that propel the gears of civilization in a globalized society. —Lisa Yin Zhang
Anna K.E. I Ask No More (MISCHIEF: they were wild geese), 2019-2020. Pencil, spray paint, acrylic, indian ink, and oil stick on paper, 59 × 78 ¾ inches. Photo: Dario Lasagni.