Art can force us to see the ills to which we are blind, or it can offer transcendence when those ills become unbearable. Everyone needs relief sometimes, and this past spring, while Chicago was under lockdown, Mayumi Lake offered a dose by installing an ancient Japanese disco at the Riverside Arts Center, fully visible from the street. At the center of the small gallery, bathed in colorful LED lights and surrounded by mirror-faced stuffed teddy bears, two of Lake’s “Unison” flower reliefs spun around and around, locked in an otherworldly tango. To make these collages, Lake, who was born in Osaka but has lived in Chicago for years, scans hosoge patterns from vintage kimonos, prints, cuts and relayers them in the hundreds, then adds shiny doodads bought in local shops. The resulting effect is a sexy fusion of the noble and the flashy, the archaic and the futuristic. Did passersby dance to the silent rhythm of Radiant Frisson? I know I would have.
—Lori Waxman 2021-01-25 10:29 AM