Published in Espace Magazine #113, Spring/Summer 2016
Blain Southern Gallery, London
10 February 2016 – 9 April 2016
A white slab of marble towers over visitors as they enter the gallery. Flanked within a three-meter-high steel frame, the mammoth stone vacillates between taciturn menace and security, as it incites viewers to consider their own corporeal awareness. A meandering vein slices through the boulder, symbolising Cameron’s Line, a tectonic boundary defined by a subterranean belt of marble that runs from Connecticut to the Bronx. Oozing art historical references, Michael Joo’s work speaks of the geometric impulses and minimalist ideologies of the 1960s, of Joseph Beuys’ articulation of primal and elemental forces, of Gary Kuehn’s emphasis on the physicality of raw mediums, of Richard Serra’s sculptures that teeter on the brink of danger, and of Barry Le Va’s conceptual installations. Yet, Joo’s engagement with independent themes and the transformative qualities of matter lend his practice a unique position within the context of contemporary art. This sculpture, fittingly entitled Prologue (Montclair Danby Vein Cut) (2014-2015), acts as a preamble to the exhibition. Echoing the nucleus of the artist’s iconography, it sets the stage for Joo’sRadiohalo show at Blain Southern in London.