New Works by Jee Young Sim and Sto
“I will follow the path of the line right off a cliff, if that’s where it takes me, like I’m running behind the line, up and over, right on through, down, around and right back to where I started.” – Sto
Wayfarers is so very proud to present to you this show featuring new works by Sto and Jee.
Sto and Jee have known each other as vibrant artists and musicians/performers in Brooklyn for years, but this show is bringing their works together for the first time. In “We Are The Whirl,” both artists are presenting large scale, calligraphic works on paper with little or no color. Their emphasis is on improvisationally finding form through the making of marks. Their processes are similar – they both move fluidly above the paper laid out on the floor, using Sumi ink or black paint and working in a state somewhere between a dance and a trance. In this way, their drawings call to mind performative mark-making traditions like Native American sand painting and Abstract Expressionism, but their works are as different from each other as ice is from steam. Jesse James Arnold, who worked with Sto and Jee to select the works from their studios, likens their sensibilities to a deck of playing cards in which Jee makes all the decorative ornamentation for the Queens, but Sto comes in to paint their faces.
Sto’s strokes are huge and gestural as he pushes the paint in front of him, rolling it out like determined mercury. The linework layers up into a visual rhythm that is punctuated by knots and gnarls. They conspire together to squeeze the blank space for all its worth. Marks crash like cars in rainstorms. The raw, open forms that evolve from Sto’s choreography of line can clearly be understood as faces, but it’s as if each face is given shape not by any external features but by the energy flowing and firing inside the head.
Alternately, Jee’s small marks accumulate their energy, ornately – like foliage, or fragments of memory. Each small stroke accrues, building an architecture of organic but abstracted imagery. Eventually, they organize themselves into vertical compositions that call to mind Korean landscape scrolls, traditional dragon tattoos, birds of paradise, waterfalls and what it would look like if you tried to trace the flow of fire. They are dense and meticulous, without ever encroaching upon fussy. They are all the little leaves, while also being all the drops of water dripping from them.
Sto and Jee work with a level of trust in their process – and in the unknown – that allows them to give over to their marks, letting the marks become the maps to their own making. “The world has gone the way of the whirl, leaving us all spinning until we fall down. “