Thomas Erben is excited to present a third solo show by New York based painter Haeri Yoo (b. 1970, Korea). Over the years, Yoo has developed her work around a tangle of dichotomies, with conflicting forces constantly struggling to form a precarious state of balance. Channeling opposing impulses such as narration and abstraction, delight and darkness, or wonder and violence, the artist establishes an animated visuality, enhanced by her use of intense colors that oscillate between jarringly sweet and polluted.
Another aspect central to Yoo’s work is the dynamic between spontaneity and control. The influence of calligraphy from her Korean background is present in the use of swift brush strokes, which lets the medium of painting itself dictate the visual conditions for each piece. This intuitive element is tempered with the artist’s intent, balancing energy flow with restraint.
Yoo has described her paintings as psychological landscapes, depicting the darker areas of the human experience such as vulnerability, cruelty and sexual subjugation. Initially, this was represented through distinctly figurative, carnal imagery, whereas in her second show she moved further into abstraction, fracturing the space of each painting into complex structures and chopping up the body almost beyond recognition.
In the series exhibited, the calligraphic brush stroke is given a stronger influence, and abstract space is simplified, with a boldness that does not sacrifice complexity. Where Yoo previously mutated reality into something resembling a Rorschach test for the darker sides of human behavior, her current work opens up toward the reality of painting itself. By emphasizing the painted surface of each piece rather than lingering in her own landscapes, she paradoxically merges her own world with the one we inhabit.
Haeri Yoo received her BFA from Kyungbook National University, Korea (1992) and her MFA from the Pratt Institute of Arts, NY (1997). She first appeared at this gallery in 2006, with two subsequent solo shows in 2008 and 2010. This past summer, her work was included in Korean Eye, Saatchi Gallery, London, where it will also be part of Painters’ Painters (forthcoming). She has exhibited at numerous venues, such as Korean Art Show, NY (2012); Five Miles, NY (curator Lilly Wei, 2011); the Chelsea Art Museum, NY (2010); Monica de Cardenas Gallery, Milan, Kresge Art Museum, MI, and the Seoul Art Center (all 2009); House of Campari, NY (curator Simon Watson), Smith College Museum of Art, MA (both 2008); and Queens Museum of Art (2004). Yoo’s work has been discussed in the New York Times, Whitewall Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, TimeOut Mumbai and Artillery Magazine. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.