Elise Siegel and Mie Yim
January 23 – February 22, 2015
Storefront Ten Eyck is delighted to present the work of Elise Siegel and Mie Yim, mid-career artists, whose work is primarily concerned with the human figure. To pair the sculpture of Elise Siegel and the painting of Mie Yim is to explore what it means to be human, specifically how we inhabit our bodies; what identities we assume; and how our emotions, thoughts and aspirations are expressed in images that reflect the nuances of the material and the sensitivity of their creators to the human condition. These two artists are masters of their respective mediums. Through a skillful manipulation of their materials and art historical sources, each arrives at striking, poignant representations of the human form as we seek to understand it in an age of digital representation and physical disconnection.
Elise Siegel’s ceramic portrait busts are inspired by figurative sculptures that appear to have had some cultural function, either in ritual or in daily life, in addition to their being creative expressions–objects that humans have empowered–idols, reliquaries, masks and even toys. They vary stylistically as well as in terms of scale, surface and glaze. Siegel has taken formal cues from the abstracted features and exaggerated forms of the Jomon dogu figures of Neolithic Japan, as well as the hollow eyes of terracotta Haniwah funeral figures from the 3rd to 6th century AD. For Siegel, these sculptures, everything from Renaissance reliquary busts to African masks, continue to resonate as their meaning evolves over time. Although each of Siegel’s sculptures is a distinct individual, they are not portraits of specific people. Rather, they are meant to embody a psychic state familiar to the viewer, allowing for a wide range of projections that reflect what the viewer brings to the encounter. The artist attempts to imbue the work with the immediacy of human experience and to find a way for each sculpture to project a sense of its own hidden life.
As a Korean-born immigrant, Mie Yim is interested in the intersection of Asian-pop visual culture and American post-war painting. Her paintings are portraits of animal-human hybrids, at times looming and solitary, at other times camouflaged and amalgamated. Ambiguities exist between distinctly rendered forms and areas comprised of paint on canvas. In Yim’s image world, the artist deploys a spectrum of jumbled, toy-like creatures and wise or self-possessed beings, like characters in an odd narrative who are visitors in a foreign land. The paintings conjure multiple associations ranging from evocative perversions, comic-book vulnerabilities, flirting violence, placid contentment and existential dread. The characters are staged so that they wrestle with all-too-human dramas filled with intense erotic desire and looming brutality. The artists writes, “As a child in Korea, I was weaned on Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars and various other hopelessly cute dolls and fluffy animals. Later, as an art student in United States, I felt nourished by Philip Guston, Willem DeKooning and Italian Baroque painters like Caravaggio and Pontormo. Today, I like to imagine that if someone were to eat one of my paintings, it would taste sweet and sour and leave a perplexing, tangy aftertaste.”
Elise Siegel lives and works in New York City. She studied at the University of Chicago and completed a BFA at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC. She has been actively exhibiting her work since arriving in New York in 1982. She has had solo exhibitions and completed major installations at venues including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Nancy Margolis Gallery, NYC; Garth Clark Project Space, Long Island City; Third World Ceramics Bienniale, South Korea; Wesleyan University’s Zilkha Gallery: Jane Hartsook Gallery, NYC; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; Halsey Gallery of the College of Charleston, SC; and Laurie Rubin Gallery, NYC. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum at FIT, the Neuberger Museum and the Sculpture Center. Siegel has been the recipient of fellowships to Yaddo and MacDowell, has twice received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and is a 2014 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Her work is in private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Arario Gallery, Seoul, South Korea; and the Chazen Museum in Madison WI.
Mie Yim was born in South Korea in 1963. She grew up in Hawaii, then moved to Philadelphia, earning a B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art and spending a year at the Tyler School of Art program in Rome. Her work has been displayed in numerous international exhibitions including solo shows in 2004 at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York and the Galleria in Arco in Turin, Italy. She was one of the artists featured in Selections at the Drawing Center. Yim has been in group exhibitions at ATM Gallery, Michael Steinberg Fine Art, Feature, Inc., all in New York; Ise Cultural Foundation, New York; Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas; and Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina. She was awarded the AIM program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in 1991, as well as Jurors Award at N.Y.U. Gallery in 1993. Her work is in collections around the world including Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, and the Chambers Hotel in New York City. Currently, she lives and works in New York City.
In the project space:
Brant Moorefield, Anna Ortiz, Gretchen Scherer
Fractured Atlas features the work of Brant Moorefield, Anna Ortiz and Gretchen Scherer, artists who take landscape and interior space as the starting point for paintings that alter the coordinates of visual reality. All three are talented young artists who skillfully manipulate the conventions of representation to startling, personal effect.
Brant Moorefield makes paintings that are concerned with the interaction between visual and psychological landscapes. His work is an expression of the meaning that we project onto what we see around us, as well as painting’s transformative ability to reveal what is hidden in a subject. In his work, clusters of objects and places from the natural, urban and domestic worlds are combined and transmuted into new, often personified forms. Some of the pieces are more about memory and imagination than present place, but the method of study remains the same. Moorefield creates paintings that speak about our world and our inner selves in a contemporary way, while remaining freely influenced by the tradition of the practice.
Brant Moorefield received a BFA in sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1993 and an MFA in painting from SUNY Albany in 1999. His work is in various private and public collections and has been exhibited throughout the United States. He lives in Queens, New York.
With their painterly expression, historical references and filtered palettes, Anna Ortiz’s paintings call into question the successes and failures of representational painting in a digital era. Working with images of recent disasters culled from the internet, her landscapes ask the viewer to pause on the aftermath of a disaster scene. Ortiz reconstructs the aftermath of these disasters through a layered process of building maquettes and painting. Through this process, the impossibility of the image, the compression of information and loss of the definable allow the viewer new entry into an otherwise unknowable space.
Anna Ortiz studied art history and painting at Tufts, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Louvre. Ortiz completed her MFA studies in painting while attending Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and in Rome. She has been awarded several residencies and fellowships both in and outside of the United States.
Gretchen Scherer imagines spaces in a way that is vastly different from the way those spaces actually appear. Distant memories and sparse visual clues are the basis for her work, and she is intrigued by how these processes summon images from the imagination. Scherer begins by collaging photographs from old interior design books and then making paintings based on the collages. In past work she limited herself to places she had actually been to, but she has found the images from books resonate with her even though she has never experienced them, a kind of déjà vu of familiarity mixed with mystery. “Sometimes it feels as if I am stuck on this side of things-that there may be another unseen world that we are all also a part of and can make visible through looking at and making paintings.”
Gretchen Scherer was born in 1979 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and received a BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MFA from Hunter College in 2006. She was awarded a Graf travel grant to Berlin and attended Skowhegan Residency. Her work has been shown in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.