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Mie Yim was born in South Korea in 1963. She grew up in Hawaii, earned a B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art, and spent a year at the Tyler School of Art’s program in Rome. Her work has been displayed in numerous international exhibitions, including solo shows at Lehmann Maupin Gallery and Michael Steinberg Fine Arts in New York as well as the Galleria in Arco in Turin, Italy. She was included in “Selections” at the Drawing Center, and her work has been shown in group exhibitions at the ATM Gallery, Feature, Inc. and the Ise Cultural Foundation in New York, as well as Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas and The Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has been selected for the AIM program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Jurors Award at N.Y.U. Gallery. Her work has been collected at such places as the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City and the Chambers Hotel in New York City and published on the back cover of a textbook called “Social Text” by Duke University. Her writing has been included in “THIS,” a Collection of artists’ writings edited by Susan Jennings. She is the author of a book called “A.B.C. of S.E.X.” and a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellowship. She lives and works in New York City.
As a Korean-born artist, I am interested in the intersection of Asian pop visual culture and American post-war painting. My oil paintings are portraits of animal-human hybrids. They are beings that have gone through some kind of transformative journey, through the process of built up of form and figure and paint and surface. Erasing, rendering, smearing, modeling. I like the tension of having the range of illustrative figures, then loose, floppy paint obliterating the figure, letting abstraction come through, finding the balance.
In my paintings, I foster multiple positions in the cultural, anthropomorphic and art historical identities. As a child, I was weaned on Hello Kitty and various other hopelessly cute dolls and fluffy animals. Later, as an art student in United States, I felt nourished by Phillip Guston, Willem DeKooning, and also Italian painters like Caravaggio. I think of my characters as distant cousins of imagined creatures, avatars of anxiety, lust and longing. They iterate playfulness with dark underpinnings. Maybe underneath the sugary puff balls and banal gaze, it's all guts and turmoil and existential crisis. I hope the viewer can sense the edge of East/West, Abstract/Figurative. The fragmental element in my life becomes whole in my art.
- Mie Yim