May 20 – July 2, 2010
Opening reception: Thursday, May 20, 6-8:30 pm
Thomas Erben presents a new body of work by Haeri Yoo (b. 1970, Korea), the New York-based painter’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Body Hoarding investigates the fractured and entangled human body as a site, a chaotic accumulation of mental images and piled-up memories. Suspended between figuration and abstraction, Yoo sees her works as an expressive metaphor in paint for the psychological deep end of “human vulnerability and life experiences.”
In 2006 — her first gallery appearance — Yoo presented us with a wall of works on paper and paintings of small vignettes of individual, graphically rendered figures. By creating an emotional rupture in playing their sweetness against an insidious violence and darkness, Yoo introduced a dichotomy, which she then would develop in her paintings exploring increasingly the ability of paint itself to convey these states of being.
Throughout, Yoo has been using a number of materials including pencils, pastels, oil, acrylic and spray paints as well as collage elements. Her riot of media, colors and modes of application, over time, reveals a careful attention to craft, technique and an economy of form; with each stroke carrying an expressive energy, here embodying the concept of “chi”, as seen within the framework of traditional Korean calligraphy.
Included in the exhibition, Honeymoon Island, which measures 90 x 78 inches, for example displays a seemingly ridiculously impenetrable maelstrom of colors, shapes and lines. This visuality, to varying degrees, also applies to the other works, each demonstrating a distinct subject matter, color range and formal organization.
Moving beyond discernible figuration, Body Hoarding refers less to a literal body, but rather the seemingly uncontrollable urge to “collect” a wide range of emotions, amassed layer upon layer. With her fluctuating forms and short-circuited narratives, Yoo — in this new body of work — has freed her paintings to yet wider, possible readings.
Haeri Yoo’s work has been exhibited in a number of venues, such as Monica de Cardenas Gallery Milan, Kresge Art Museum East Lansing, MI (both 2009); House of Campari NY (curator Simon Watson), Smith College Museum of Art Northhampton, MA (both 2008); Queens Museum of Art (2004); as well as several appearances with this gallery. Most recently, her work was included in an exhibition at the Seoul Art Center and will be part of Paint at the Saatchi Gallery London (forthcoming). Her work has been discussed in the New York Times, Whitewall Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, TimeOut Mumbai and on artkrush.