Berlin-based Kirsi Mikkola’s first solo show, FLEX, at Sue Scott Gallery features multi-layered abstract paintings-cum-collages. Ranging in small to extra-large, these works take the artist a year to complete. Each piece speaks to one another and the viewer in language both compact and stuttering by way of using thin reeds of painted paper; and wide and expansive, covering larger areas with inspired color, coils and lengths. Peppered throughout are hand-rendered scrawls and scratches as well as found scraps which create a small/large contrast. There’s focus and energy in the work, but only in the context of the artist truly understanding the materials, spending time with each element. Mikkola’s obsessive paper cutting and design gives way to the beaten paper she uses as the surface, creating a scene of use and disuse but balance all the time.
Memory is all in these pieces employing a focused build up of stacked matchstick paper, as well as what Mikkola has chosen to leave behind. What she leaves behind, however, is vibrant and still untouched. Her oscillating use of color is striking. The smaller pieces tend to be louder in vibrancy, while the larger have a calm neutrality that give the pieces their broad expanse, while at the same time showcasing the laborious layering technique. She is creating worlds here with a build up of materials designed to pull the viewer out of their own space and into her ad hoc landscape.