Repeater: Painting like music like handwriting

In the essay accompanying this exhibition, curator Kelsey Halliday Johnson quotes Ian MacKaye, founder of the DIY label Dischord Records: “Playing music is like handwriting; if you play a song over and over, it starts to evolve.” “Repeater,” named after a 1990 album by Fugazi, includes drawing, sculpture, and video by three artists who translate the formal properties of sound, color, texture, and line across mediums for eccentric abstractions that bring to mind the flamboyant post-Minimalism of Frank Stella, Yayoi Kusama, and Claes Oldenburg. More intimately scaled than these art-historical antecedents and installed in close quarters at this tiny artist-run gallery, twelve brightly colored, highly patterned works by Lee Arnold, Mark Brosseau, and Meg Lipke reverberate in a visual conversation reminiscent of the sonic repartee between layered tracks of a song.Arnold’s animation Signals, 2012, converts a single note’s subtle microtonal layers into rectangles of saturated color—red, green, yellow, blue—that tessellate on a square vintage television monitor. Mounted on a wall next to this work is Lipke’s Fingered Fragment, 2014, a fist-shaped stuffed textile piece approximately the size of a couch cushion. Thick, unevenly dyed batik cross-hatching traces the soft sculpture’s contours; chocolate brown, forest green, and golden yellow block its surface into larger sections. Nearby are “Selection of Tablet Drawings,” 2016, and “Twenty Panels,” 2014–16, collections of Brosseau’s eight-by-ten-inch drawings made using digital and analog means, respectively. With the first displayed serially on a digital photo frame and the latter on slim wooden mantels, their domestic presentation confirms the sense that this exhibition addresses human creative relationships as much as it does rigorous, rehearsed formal experimentation.