I started my day today with a bite of freshly made glazed donut and a sip of drip coffee. Not my normal routine, but enjoyable nonetheless, in a very familiar way. Familiarity can possibly and instantaneously forge intimate connections between people, ideas, contexts, and experiences. I find myself intrigued by the artists' process or rather their process of being an artist.
The artists selected for this feature reveal something from their daily surroundings that gives the audience a peek into the artist's intimate life and thoughts. From the silhouette of a paring knife and lemons to grandma's pound cake recipe, these seemingly mundane and familiar elements become tangible starting points in understanding the artists' process of discerning order, reflection, integration and affirmation within their daily environment. Though they employ vastly different methodologies and strategies in creating their work, their inspiration comes from the world around them, thus offering us a key into their world through the familiar object.
Inspired while musing over her grandmother's legacy, Nyeema Morgan's Forty-Seven Easy Poundcakes Like grandma Use To Make tackles rule-based processes and the idea of authenticity in the digital age. It employs a labored process of repetition that is additive yet ultimately reduces the recipes into a series of unique but incomprehensible text-based digital drawings. Morgan explores the boundaries of authoritative reasoning through the process of collecting and editing — dissecting, rearranging and ultimately negating and abstracting. The forty-seven recipes, including Morgan's grandmother's, are also baked and shared with the audience. The project touches upon notions of cultural knowledge and its production, consumption, validation, appropriation, representation, reiteration and its sometime superfluous connotations within contemporary society and engages the audience in both a private and shared communal experience.
Megan Whitmarsh examines and reconfigures personal and communal history using a process that she compares to taking a photograph of the inside of her mind. Traces is part of a larger series based on women artists and their work. By making a hand-sewn replica of Niki de Saint Phalle's autobiography, Whitmarsh re-examines the artist, her artwork, and the book itself, which in the process is rendered unreadable. Although her interest in feminism is peripheral and influences her vision rather then being the focus of her work, her recent works have included fictionalized past covers of art magazines featuring women artists who Whitmarsh feels deserved to be on the cover but never did. Part pop art, part criticism, Whitmarsh explores various potent ideas entwined within her daily life in a sincere but lighthearted and personable humble manner.
Siyeon Kim also examines her daily surroundings for inspiration. Kim's most recent photographic series titled Cup continues to examine the themes of fragility and the lack of communication within the domestic setting. The very private and personal objects such as cups, books, kitchen utensils, and eggshells reference the home and the traditional domestic role while the pristine superficiality and obsessive cleanliness depicted in the photographs are evocative of psychological tension, fragility, futility, and almost suffocating emptiness. Like a fragmented poem, the delicate and precarious balancing of the cup and the lifeless paper nourishments capture a melancholic domestic narrative along with a slight sense of paranoia. The pervasive silence is overwhelming yet there is a meditative quality to Kim's quiet photographs, which brings the viewer back to her work again and again.
Not unlike Kim's intimate photographs, Todd Kelly's paintings are introspective explorations and embrace both representation and abstraction. Kelly describes his paintings "as a method of thinking" and enjoys diversity and formal freedom that comes from mashups and interplay of divergent styles and genres. Many of Kelly's recent paintings incorporate facets of still life — silhouettes of bottles, a paring knife and sliced lemons in particular. untitled (Theory of Gravity Still Life) seems to be an amalgamation of abstract scribbles and patterns at first glance but starts to reveal the multiple layers of still life and their playful juxtapositions. Kelly's painting references commercial printing and machine-made marks against hand-painted patterns in fanciful layers. It reflects his daily life and attitude of joy and inquiry in approaching his paintings.
Eun Young Choi is a New York-based installation artist and independent curator originally from Seoul, Korea. She holds a MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Choi has organized exhibitions and performance events in collaboration with various organizations including the New Museum's IDEAS CITY Festival, National Academy Museum, United Nations Headquarters, Asian American Art Centre and Arario Gallery New York. Her programming and exhibitions have been featured in the New York Times, New York magazine, VOGUE magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, artcritical and numerous other media outlets.