Mie Yim (b. 1963, S. Korea) is a New York City based painter. Solo exhibitions include Villa Magdalena, San Sebastian, Spain, Olympia Gallery, New York, NY, the Durst foundation in New York, NY, Ground Floor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Lehmann Maupin, NY, Michael Steinberg, NY, Gallery in Arco, Turin, Italy. Numerous group exhibitions include the Drawing Center, Feature, Ise Cultural Foundation, Mitchell Algus Gallery, BRIC, Mark Borghi Gallery, all in New York. Other places such as Johnson County Community College, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, The Arts Center at Western Conn. University. She represented a solo booth at NADA 2021 with Olympia and 3 person presentation at Untitled 2021 with Monica King Projects.  She is a recipient of Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2020, The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant 2018, The New York Foundation of the Arts Painting Fellowship in 2021 and 2015 and Artist in the Market Place, Bronx Museum. She has a BFA in Painting from Philadelphia College of Art as well as a year abroad at Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. She will have a solo exhibition at Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, Vermont, in the summer of 2022.



When making work, I start from an emotional space of the past, my childhood years. Abrupt migration from Korea to Hawaii when I was a young girl left an indelible impression of disconnectedness and longing. Making art is a way to reconstruct some kind of meaning and purpose of fragmented identity.

I began by making narrative paintings of memory and fantasy. Theatrical scenes of plush, anthropomorphic creatures in sugary colors referring to my cultural heritage. Eventually these characters started to fall apart, come undone. I’m interested in articulating a more complex visual language, sublimating story and bring form and the presence of paint to the forefront. I want to get at the sour as well as the sweet. I visualize the cute, naughty creatures with their guts turned inside out. I transmute many pictorial moments of pretty shapes into the unknown and dark. Buried beneath the luscious colors and sexy shapes lie maudlin spirits and brooding angry prepubescents ready to do battLe. They have transpired into a strange blend of organic/biomorphic machine-like beings.


Thinking about all my loves and influences in the Western world, canonical painters like Phillip Guston and Joan Mitchell, I embrace putting paint down intuitively. Each painting goes through many phases and layers of horizontal and vertical lines like scaffoldings or skeletons, that are derived from anthropomorphic parts. They could conjure bunny ears, doe eyes. I apply paint rather dry, like texture of pastel to get an effect of soft edges, matte surface and cotton balls. The hope is to construct a form that gels into kind of metaphysical portraits of pathos, unease and pugnacious hilarity. The process of painting is never linear and logical. In order to unsee the images, I turn the canvas around constantly. I’m interested in making forms that falls apart when one is close to the image, solidifies when one steps back. Painting this way is like falling backward without a net. After being overwhelmed by the perpetual uncertainty of my adolescence, I have come to be at ease with uncertainty in the studio practice.

I realize I no longer need an overt imagery to provoke a response. My existential anxiety is embedded deeply in the paintings. Thee boundary between figuration and abstraction has dissolved for me. It’s time to evolve from personal to universal, beyond cultural references and definitions into the primordial human expression.
- Mie Yim

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