“You again:” it’s a pithy two-word statement, a prickly greeting of a recurrent presence. In this case, Rochelle Feinstein might be directing the phrase—the title of her exhibition at Bridget Donahue—at herself. One location in an international six-venue exhibition, the show features recent works alongside older ones, as if visited by a specter.
If something else haunts the work, it is the grid: warped, bent, sometimes partially obscured, but always inescapable. Feinstein might get to the heart of the matter with the title of a large burnt umber and ochre work, Same Shit Different Day (1990). Other works summon the monotony of repetition, their forms evoking schedules or obsessive love letters. The triptych Someone Else’s Hand, Someone Else’s Name, Something for Everyone (1990–1993), for example, comprises three square canvases: in the first, joss paper, used to make offerings to the dead in Chinese ancestral worship, is laid upon squares like the marking of a calendar. In the second, the name “Shelly” is written over and over in pink cursive, while the last repeats the scrawled sign-off “Love, Paul.” That most prominent of grid-makers, Amazon, figures here as well. Upcycled (2021), as its name suggests, refashions old Amazon boxes into a wonky grid loosely linked together by grommets and yarn.
Feinstein sometimes slips free of the grid’s constraints. It is difficult to trace a straight line through her oeuvre, and nearly impossible to inventory it. Indeed, “You Again” is no retrospective. Each venue mixes new and historical work in its own distinct way, and Feinstein herself sometimes layers new paintings atop old ones, contributing to the difficulty of determining which works were made when. Fittingly, the phrase “You Again” need not always be spoken with disdain; it can be said, too, when encountering an old friend in a new light. —Lisa Yin Zhang
Rochelle Feinstein, Red Square, 1992. Oil, relief prints, fabric, gold thread on linen, 60 × 60 inches. Photo: Gregory Carideo