ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
PHOTOGRAPHY JEFFREY STURGES
Jacob Kassay's work fits together. One body represents a departure from another, and yet it holds more meaning when viewed as a step, attached to the step before it. On January 9th, Kassay's Untitled (disambiguation) filled The Kitchen in Chelsea, marking his first solo show in New York in nearly four years. If the crowd was any indication of its success, the young artist has little to worry about.
The show will remain here until February 16th. Reminders of the large silver electroplated squares for which Kassay is known lean behind a support and in a hallway while his new works hang on the walls of the second floor. The shapes come from linens left over from his earliest works, cut to accomodate more traditional painting forms. Stretchers were built in the forms of these salvaged pieces of fabric, and the results are unassuming, organic structures, one bridge-like across a corner, one crescent-like on a black wall. They glow in comparison to the shadowy mirror-ish paintings, if only because of their forced context. The soft, neutral colors that set them apart from their hard, polished predecessors and this almost narrative, puzzle-like display are comfortingly linear.
I visited Kassay at his Los Angeles studio last month and found him working on a piece commissioned to show in Istanbul. Without giving too much away, Kassay is not finished with thinking about negative space. During our conversation I recognized a trait I only associate with true artist-minds: a refusal to compromise his own methods of compromise. There is an answer to every question he asks, and if he wants to find it, he is usually the only one who can.
As stated in the program, the work at The Kitchen is "grounded in Kassay's interest in how reductive formal strategies serve the quality of one’s attention." If you want to know where his attention is focused lately, just look at his website. Each time the page refreshes and you're redirected to a seemingly random site, you are actually entering the mind of Jacob Kassay. Stay as long as you like.