Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Kingston Gallery in SoWa to see Elif Soyer: Daily. While looking at these pieces, I felt like I was observing the inner workings of the artist’s mind surrounding me on the walls. Through collage, Eilf Soyer organizes the “junk” and clutter of her daily life, and lets her subconscious thoughts float up and out of her mind into each cut-and-pasted artwork.
This exhibition is a natural progression for Soyer; in her last show at Kingston Gallery, Balance Due, Soyer began repurposing junk mail and crafting it into journal entries. As she worked through the mountain of refuse, she processed her daily thoughts. The resulting artworks reflect Soyer’s process of working through her life experiences and turning her clutter into order.
Out of that project, Daily was born. The exhibition is comprised of a grid of wooden panels covered in carefully dissected clippings of junk mail interspersed with fragments of writing, sketches, scraps from other projects, and strange little sculpted monsters. Surrounded by these works, I felt as if I was standing inside the artist’s mind. I imagine Soyer created these works through some degree of automatism, letting her mind flow freely from her. The way that she organizes the panels on the wall in grids creates a satisfying unity to this collection of fragmented abstractions. It must have been cathartic to cut up mail meaningless to her and remix the junk into a larger, more personal project.
I was particularly drawn in by Soyer’s panel 21, titled Not what you think it is. Trails of words float up to the surface of this piece like ephemera. Her abstract illustrations which seem to allude to human anatomy made me wonder, if it’s “not what you think it is”, then what is it?
This gallery inspired me because I, too, hoard many colorful leaflets and collect illustrations in piles of paper in my bedroom. It made me want to tear out pages from my journal and cut them up and glue them back together with last year’s moon calendar. I feel that the process of collaging is synonymous with the process of thinking through your life and the artifacts you collect along the way. That’s why I loved this selection of works by Elif Soyer; her ongoing project of collecting, sorting, and repurposing the mundane leaves me wanting to see more!
Elif Soyer: Daily will be on view at Kingston Gallery through February 24th. A closing reception will be held on Sunday the 24th from 3 to 5 pm. More information on the exhibition can be found here.