Brenna Youngblood, “No More Drama” (2021), mixed media on canvas 72 x 59.75 x 6.5 inches (image courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, photo by Robert Wedemeyer)
LOS ANGELES — A black and white sweater, a hoarder’s worth of buttons, slip-on shoes, a brittle “No Parking” sign. These found materials interrupt the abstracted surfaces of Brenna Youngblood’s paintings in ways that would probably make Piet Mondrian yelp. Mondrian believed abstraction could only tap into the universal harmonies of life if it shunned the crudeness of reality in favor of simplified forms. His view, utopic and myopic at the same time, left its mark on 20th-century styles and movements, from Color Field painting to Minimalism. In her new solo show at Roberts Projects, the LIGHT and the DARK, Youngblood reassembles and revises the language of abstraction, embedding the traces of everyday living — discarded items, personal mementos — onto canvas and boards. Their inclusion, layered over periwinkle transparent washes and puckering impasto, plunge the viewer into a landscape where memories crash against the formalities of abstraction.