Funny how caution tape, and the smiley face share that same bright, sunny yellow. It’s a hot rod color, a daisy color, and the color of French’s mustard. And in yesterday. Yellow, Avantika Bawa’s installation at Milepost 5 where she is currently artist in residence, every element in the piece is awash in the hue. Bawa deftly uses yellow to displace the found objects she assembled for the piece from the NE 82nd neighborhood surrounding Milepost 5. These materials are those for building, carrying, or storing; not consumer goods but objects that are meant to be used to do something else. Here, most wait in a glorified state of the same purgatory from which Bawa plucked them: concrete blocks are lined up on the floor, low crates are stacked just a bit haphazardly, boards and wood scraps are piled on the floor, lean against the window, or trace a corner. The unity of their hue, the visual rhythm of their repetition and line (it’s interesting to consider their edges as a drawing in the space), their orderly disorder or slightly disordered order makes of the static objects a dynamic whole.
Minimalism’s tactics including Andre’s use of the floor, McCracken’s leaning planks, and the widespread use of seriality are reinvigorated in the project of casting a critical eye on the life (and death and rebirth) of the manufactured good and what it says about where we are and where we’re going…something that Bawa here casts in a hopeful light, a bright yellow one, not least because in the opposite corner of the space, tucked into the corner, it appears that building anew has begun.