Alex Paik, Improvisation #3 of Equilateral Triangle (Open), 2016

Alex Paik, Improvisation #3 of Equilateral Triangle (Open), 2016, gouache, colored pencil, paper; 5.5 x 10 x .5 in.

Classical music and painting brought Alex Paik to wall assemblage. Indeed, it marks his arrival. Partial Parallelogram (Trapezoid) cleverly exploits dimension, as it musically administers subtleties of cast shadows and reflected colors on the gallery wall. Different at each installation, it steers your gaze in and toward the wall’s surface, then skips across it laterally, vertically, and diagonally, presenting delicate clusters of relaxed trapezoids, parallelograms, and triangles that bend to gravity. Close inspection reveals interstices inside the shapes that quietly play multiple roles, exponentially increasing the number of possible geometric shapes that bridge themselves together in both large and small units.

With these painted strips of paper, Paik carefully notes the passage of time and of forms developing and dissolving—the universal rules that bind our physical world—and the interdependence of all the pieces of any system. The sculpture is a working model both for how we relate to others and how we piece ourselves together, since both efforts require mirroring and the winnowing out of weaknesses and compromise.

Part of Passing Bittersweet, a 2020 exhibition at the Williams Center Gallery. Find more of Alex Paik’s work on his website.