This gallery’s glowering, barnlike space presents its visiting curators with a stiff formal challenge, but Felicity Hogan has grabbed the bull by the horns in assembling a richly tactile five-person group exhibition on the broad theme of extropy, or the gradual distillation of chaos and complexity into fundamental essence. Hogan’s selected artists—all women—employ a catholic range of media and formats but stick resolutely and productively to the abstract in probing the innumerable possibilities of visual and material systems. Emerging from a sea of summer shows teetering on conceptual premises doomed by either willful obscurity or ham-fisted obviousness, “Structured Simplicity” distinguishes itself with a bracing concentration on shape, color, texture, and—in the case of Amy Yoes’s hypnotic video loop Modification and Collapse, 2009—movement and sound.
Mai Braun’s Pile II, 2009—a mass of shredded copies of the New York Times bound up with string—is the most direct embodiment of the show’s premise, but her Tower—Fragile to Clorox, 2006, a stack of cardboard boxes cut and remodeled into crystalline facets, is ultimately a more satisfying transformation. Hilary Harnischfeger makes use of real crystals, integrating chunks of quartz and zeolite into multilayered constructions that look more unearthed than assembled, while Elana Herzog’s Untitled #1 (chainlink drapery study), 2004, a cotton-chenille bedspread stapled to the wall then partially ripped away, also seems to inhabit a hinterland between the organic and the artificial. Last—and best—the eccentric biomorphism shared by Fabienne Lasserre’s half dozen combinations of felt, ceramics, linen, and pigment, as well as acrylic polymer and paint, finally flips the whole interior from enclosure to environment.