The re-contextualization of Caroline Kryzecki’s ballpoint pen works from their origins in Berlin to their current Los Angeles situation (Out of Phase, 2016-2017 and ongoing) evokes a synthesis of opposed theoretical categories among those indigenous to California. On the one hand, West Coast practice in accordance with paradigms established by such artists as Robert Irwin, Mary Corse, and James Turrell, gave rise to a tradition of abstraction that asserted the primacy of essence over existence, one in which the work of art is realized in the perception of the viewer. By its nature, this tradition excludes as a premise integral to its conceptual program any direct social engagement: in Irwin’s words, “I do things which from any social or political view are utterly outrageous. I mean they absolutely ignore any social issues of the day.”

Parallel with this tradition is one which social engagement becomes a principal raison d’être of artistic practice. Here, perhaps the most relevant early paradigm is David Hammons who was most explicit about the social imperative: “I have to get my message out.”

Kryzecki’s works posit a synthesis of these hitherto mutually exclusive aesthetic strategies. On the one hand, by their use of Moiré patterns and ambiguities of perspectival potentials, they are consistent with the paradigm of works realized in the perception of the viewer and exclusive of social engagement. But in another sense, their collisions of form pose radical departure from the consistency and formal rigor of her California forebears. This condition has several potential implications. Combined with her use of the term phase in her title—one that frequently evokes the natural order insofar as it reveals an ordered and reliably repetitive progression (e.g. phases of the moon, phases of mitosis, phases of the cell cycle, etc.)—the disruption of such progressions presuppose cataclysmic social consequences.

In its new California context, Out of Phase evokes a tension between two art historical paradigms that compounds both the formal tensions it contains, and the distinct categories of perception it imposes on the viewer.