Through the Looking Glass: Examining the Reflections of a Play by Abigail Chang

Abigail Chang “Reflections of a Room”/Images: Courtesy of the artist and Volume Gallery

Rethinking the material qualities of mirrors and reflective surfaces, Abigail Chang’s solo exhibition features eight objects of varying shapes and scales that borrow from everyday mirrors – from cosmetic to full-length to rear view and security. “Reflections of a Room,” exhibited at Volume Gallery, is a testament to Chang’s work that examined transparency, blur, reflection, and flatness. Here, she uses materials such as stainless steel, glass and felt. She then examines the aftereffects they produce when light passes through them, much like the aperture of the camera.

Abigail Chang “Reflections of a Room”/Images: Courtesy of the artist and Volume Gallery

Some mirrors are placed on the floor, others are placed on bases or hung on the wall. The gallery space becomes a playground of light and shadow. The eight prismatic objects serve as windows inviting the viewer to come closer and try to get a closer look looking for their blurry reflection as if they themselves are part of the work. Or maybe they are.

Abigail Chang “Reflections of a Room”/Images: Courtesy of the artist and Volume Gallery

From exhibitions and performances to buildings, interiors and objects, Chang, who is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has long studied the portal elements of mirrors and reflective surfaces. His background, spanning the architecture and landscape architecture of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Basel and Tokyo, informs his work with geometric qualities and an imposing structure that defies their actual size. The exhibition’s minimalist layout adds a sense of mystery. Objects serve as invisible portals through which to rethink contemporary life, questioning the authenticity, values, and aesthetic and social aspects of material culture.

Abigail Chang “Reflections of a Room”/Images: Courtesy of the artist and Volume Gallery

Chang’s reflective surfaces affirm the viewer through their own reflection: as one moves, the reflection shifts, drawing them into questions of perspective as they recognize the power to shape what we see. By turning the viewing process into a personal experience, one cannot help but rethink questions of truth and illusion, beauty and vanity, confidence and skepticism – and ultimately the Self.

“Reflections of a Room” can be viewed at Volume Gallery, 1709 West Chicago, second floor, through August 13.

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