In their progression to an ever greater predominance of abstract forms in comparison with the artist’s earlier work (see Immovable Thoughts, Ace, Oct. 8, 2015), Yulish’s new paintings purposefully contravene one of contemporary abstraction’s unwritten cardinal rules: the necessity of a dissolution of any sense of consistent, perspectival relation between surface elements traditionally designated as figure and ground.
By evoking a formal allusion to figure and ground despite an overtly abstract visuality, the schemata of his works evoke a tension with the historical development of abstract painting of the tradition that has been rooted in the shift in the center of gravity of experimentation with abstraction from Paris to New York with the postwar, and harks back to another source whose geographical origins are farther east: Kandinsky’s Blaue Reiter period of 1911-1914. Viewing many of the latter’s works, we might, at first glance, imagine that they could be altogether without figuration, but a prolonged view reveals not merely figurative potentials, but certain figuration.
By elaborating his perspectival schema as the index of figuration in his work, Yulish, on the other hand, is free to render a more extreme degree of abstraction because the latter occurs within a structure associated with figuration, rather than by means of treatments of line and color that are figurative in fact, even if they might not seem figurative prima facie.
The effect of this strategy is to occupy the gaze for a much more sustained period before it ultimately perceives the figurative forms that integrate his overt abstraction. This “delayed reaction” of consecutive rather than unitary or simultaneous perceptions not only gives rise to an artist-contrived temporal dynamic in the reception of the work; it also generates a tension between two distinct kinds of seeing embedded within each other: the actual and the potential.
Because it is almost invariably the case in reality that we tend to perceive the actual before the potential, and not vice versa, the title Out of Order refers also to this tension.