Artist: Mi Ju
Korean artist Mi Ju produces elaborate large-scale paintings of surrealist critters. Her rich and striking work is often implosively colourful, assaulting the senses with a mesh of brightly rendered shapes and patterns.
Her paintings are usually figurative in form, depicting animal-like entities that are picked right out of the artist’s vivid imagination. Yet, despite the figurative nature of her work, the forms are often difficult to pin down. This elaborate psychedelia lends a kind of kinesis to her work which can mean that distinguishing Mi Ju’s creatures from their world can be a difficult but satisfying task.
The inspiration for her work comes from many different areas of her life. Her father owned a textiles factory and so Mi Ju was regularly exposed to diverse textures and patterns of different fabrics. Her mother worked as a florist in a Buddhist temple acquainting her with the bold visuals of a Buddhist aesthetic. Both of these have seeped deeply into Mi Ju’s work. She also draws inspiration from traditional Korean folk art and the aboriginal and Native American art that Mi Ju saw while travelling.
In her own words, Mi Ju says “my work is an improvisation in liminality: between dream and concretized, ancient and contemporary, Korea and the West, ephemeral and eternal, the uncensored and codified. Each character, pattern and energy reflects states of consciousness that are revealed in the creative act, a form of both improvisation and organization wherein the uncensored is working in concert with momentary, yet specific compositional organizations. It is my intention that the work will be a place of meeting between memory, dream and fantasy, and concretized into meaningful visual terms.”
What’s exciting about her work is that it grabs your attention when viewed from a distance but retains that attention when examining closer. Looking at one of her large scale paintings all at once, you’re bowled over by the sweeping intricacy and the potent mixture of contrasting colours. Examine closer and it’s hard not to be impressed by the level of detail and the depth at work here.
Mi Ju resides in Brooklyn and currently has a solo exhibition at the Schlosberg Gallery in Beverly, MA
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