'Fergus Feehily: Inland'

by Jae Lee

Misako & Rosen

Closes July 4

Fergus Feehily’s “Inland,” now showing at Misako Rosen, is like a fleeting dreamy vision — a blurry image of a woman wrapped in the layers of a kimono that lingers when your eyes are closed.

Behind a glass wall, a white sheet of paper with pale-pink brush marks hangs on a bamboo tree in a small backyard, while indoors, “Court Yard,” a complex wooden work of subtle green on white, hangs on a concrete wall. There is an overwhelming fragility to the pieces — the colors are soft and appear delicately painted. But this second solo exhibition of Feehily’s work in Japan reveals an aesthetic and psychological departure from his earlier shows of more bare, minimalist pieces.

Feehily now complicates his artwork with layers. On the surface, they appear as calm compositions of various materials, but in an interview with the artist, he surprisingly emphasizes their violence.

“Stapling, drilling into the wall, using screws and glues,” says Feehily, motioning with his fist, adds “violence” to his aesthetic and gives his pieces a vivacity that some viewers might not notice at first glance. It’s an approach that have led some critics to accuse Feehily of being deceptive, which, he says, is actually what he is aiming for. By obfuscating the essential elements of his works with different shades of color or textures, he draws viewers into his pieces. “I want people to spend more time standing in front of my works,” he explains.

On closer inspection, a theme of contradiction becomes clear: The crude construction methods to create fragile aesthetics are visible and the temporalness of solid works is emphasized by the subtle tones that fade with time. It’s a theme that goes hand-in-hand with a self-destructiveness that is particularly evident in the “untitled” work hanging in the garden. Deliberately exposed to the elements, this piece is weathering into something very different to its original form. It could be that soon, the aesthetics and delicate imagery of “Inland,” will indeed have to be recalled — just like a dream.

Misako & Rosen is a 10 min. walk from JR Otsuka Station (Yamanote Line); open 12-7 p.m. (till 5 p.m. on Sun.), closed Mon., free admission. For more information, visit