Reynolds Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of recent works by Jiha Moon entitled Blue Yolo, Yellow Chrysanthemum. The exhibition is Moon’s second solo show with the gallery and will present mixed media paintings on paper, and ceramics. The exhibition opens with a reception for the artist on Friday, April 8 and continues through May 20, 2016.
Moon investigates cultural identity and understanding through her layered and enigmatic paintings in which art historical references, pop culture symbols, and traditional folk art imagery commingle to create a new visual vocabulary. She is fascinated by linking and cross-referencing societal idiosyncrasies and exposing underlying motifs across many peoples and places. Moon’s paintings affect a polyglot visual language that ranges high and low, traditional and contemporary, East and West. She is an adept choreographer of diverse influences: traditional Japanese woodblocks, the Chinese landscape painter Tao Chi, national flags, women’s art (embroidery and weaving), Renaissance etchings, Korean folk art, and Pennsylvania Dutch iconography.
Moon states, “I want my works to appear to be lighthearted, breezy and funny. Yet, beneath the surface, they are teeming with ideas, full of old and new, fast and slow, spontaneous and deliberate. I want my work to symbolize the diversity and identity of the various worlds we live in. I want to be a visual interpreter of the mixed-cultural world of my generation.”
The title of Moon’s exhibition, Blue Yolo, Yellow Chrysanthemum, alludes to British manufactured ceramic plates decorated with varying patterns that depict Asian-influenced scenery. Each pattern possesses an individualized, Americanized nickname, such as “Blue Willow” and “Blue Onion,” terms which Moon mimics in her work titles. This ironic fusion of Western and Asian cultures recurrently appears in Moon’s work, adding to their visual and theoretical dimensionality. The Chrysanthemum references one of the four flowers known as the “Four Gentlemen,” which were often depicted in traditional Chinese ink and wash paintings to symbolize the four seasons. Additionally, the term “Chrysanthemum” is pronounced “Guk” in Korea, similar to the American pronunciation of “Gook,” a derogatory term for Asians. Moon enjoys teasing out this sort of cultural overlap, pointing to the pitfalls of translation and communication across societies. Blue Yolo, Yellow Chrysanthemum features paintings and sculptures that combine many media – ink, acrylic, tie-dyed cotton, antique Japanese screen print paper, rhinestones, and even synthetic hair—on Korean mulberry paper called Hanji. Ethereal ink washes hold up against billowy, abstract forms. Expressionist gestures intermingle with imagery of fortune cookies and American logos. The result is the harmonious layering of ambiguous and playfully deceptive symbols.
Originally from South Korea, Jiha Moon currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BFA from Korea University, Seoul, in 1996, an MFA from Ewha University, Seoul, in 1999, an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Her solo exhibition Double Welcome: Most Everyone’s Mad Here recently traveled to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC and the Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA (2015). Other solo exhibitions have been held at the Weatherspoon Museum of Art, University of North Carolina – Greensboro, NC;; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta;; Savannah College of Art and Design, GA;; James Gallery at the City University of New York Graduate Center, NY;; Arario Gallery, Seoul, Korea;; Sarubia Project, Seoul, Korea;; the Munt Museum, Charlotte, NC;; Miki Wick Kim Contemporary Art, Zurich, Switzerland;; and the Mclean Project For The Arts, Mclean, VA, among others. Moon’s work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at the Akron Museum, Akron, OH;; Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN;; High Museum, Atlanta, GA;; Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA;; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA;; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC;; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA;; International Print Center;; Asia Society and Museum, both, New York, NY. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the MOCA-GA Working Artist Project (2012-13), the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2011), a residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2009-2010), the MacDowell Colony residency (2010), the Trawick Prize (2005), and a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts residency (2002). Moon’s work is held in notable collections including the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN;; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA;; the High Museum, Atlanta, GA;; Art Omi International Art Center, Ghent, NY;; UBS Collection, Microsoft, Neuberger Berman, City Bank, all, New York, NY, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, both, Washington, DC.