Thomas Erben is pleased to present new paintings by Haeri Yoo. After a successful solo presentation of her work at dc Düsseldorf last year and inclusions in several shows with the gallery, including in Shanghai and Mumbai, this is the artist’s first – highly anticipated – solo exhibition.
Like an anthropomorphic car crash, Yoo’s paintings present to the viewer an incendiary collision of colors and angles that still vibrate and groan with the agony of suddenly arrested, piled up and compacted narratives. In comparison to her previous work, Yoo’s intensified new collection reveals a tightened, brooding palette of medicinal colors, an expansion of scale and the addition of texture through gloss and accretion.
Lilly Wei, in a 2007 catalogue published by the AHL Foundation, describes Yoo’s paintings as “wild, emotive, raw [and] ambitious.” She further elaborates:
“Her images are transgressive, sexually fraught, with feminist leanings and psychological twists. They are improvised, spontaneous and indebted to … graffiti and pop. The boldness of her color scheme and her rhythmic deployment of paint [brushed] onto the canvas with great gusto is utterly compelling, as are her idiosyncratic figurations. The scale is encompassing and effective in creating a supercharged environment of suspended belief, as you enter her highly imaginative, uninhibited domain with its doubled impact of high feeling and weighty materiality.”
Yoo’s work is overwhelmed by a primordial gesture that aims at giving physical signification to the pre-mirror stage, wherein the differentiation between self, other and environment are not blurred but non-existent. Rather than originating from a Western expressionistic tradition, Yoo imbues the whole visual field with a Korean sensibility of brushwork as chi, or energy, thus giving a life force to the medium itself and our perception of it. Emotions are as heightened as they are fleeting, bodily conscious but un-invested. The jubilation found in self-awareness is not yet a possibility in Yoo’s preconscious, anarchistic wilderness.
Haeri Yoo (b. 1970, Korea) lives and works in Brooklyn and is a MFA graduate of Pratt Institute. She has shown at the Queens Museum of Art, the Bronx River Arts Center, Rush Arts Gallery, Mehr Gallery and, most recently, in the Simon Watson curated Defining a Moment, House of Campari Exhibition. Yoo was awarded the 2007 Visual Award from the AHL Foundation (first prize), a residency at the Henry Street Settlement, a Korea Cultural Council Grant and was a participant in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space program. Forthcoming, her work will be included in Paintwork at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Yoo’s work has been commented upon in The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, NY Newsday and will be featured in the forthcoming issue of Whitewall Magazine.
The Saatchi Collection, London, as well as Bose Krishnamachari, Mumbai; Craig Robins, Florida; Aurel Scheibler, Berlin; Nicola Cernetic, Turin – to name a few – have included her work in their collections.