November 5, 2019

WHEAT + YABE at Wasserman Projects @ Hyperallergic

DETROIT — There is something especially affecting about artworks that make you wonder at the artist’s process. Both artists featured in Wasserman Projects’ two-person show WHEAT + YABE, Summer Wheat and Hirosuke Yabe, have placed an emphasis on pioneering techniques within their practices, and to remarkable effect.

Yabe has spent significant time developing his facility with the Nata hatchet — a traditional woodworking tool of Japan — and combining this tool with aesthetics that resoundingly embody the kind of mythical realism that underpins iconic Japanese storytelling, from folklore creatures to the Studio Ghibli pantheon. Over the course of a month residency in Detroit, he created three large-scale sculptures within the Wasserman space, as well as a phalanx of smaller works that surround the larger pieces. These creatures, large and small, are salvaged from logwood and discard from demolished Japanese houses that are often more than 100 years old; in the case of the larger constructions, each individual piece has a carved form and face, creating a kind of populace of anthropomorphic pieces, sometimes animated as spinning propellers and fans.

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