Curated by Alicia Eggert
January 22 - Februry 27, 2021
My sculptures are inspired by phosphenes, the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye, which can be seen as flashes of light and sometimes complex 3D forms, that move and distort. I attempt to recreate this transcendent experience in real space by creating sculptural forms with parts that flow together in a way that creates visual movement to follow as the viewer moves around the sculpture.
I make my sculptures by wrapping and taping materials, like plastic bags and newspaper, around a skeletal frame. As more material is added to the sculptures they become more stable, allowing me to make relatively large and lightweight structures. I mostly make sculptures out of recycled materials.
My art is a manifestation of how I feel when I look into a mirror. I think "who and what the hell are you?". It's me physically working through the idea of gender and sexuality in the world around us. While many people seem to think queer and trans issues only exist within that community, they’re something that affects society as a whole. I hope with my art to bring a deeper understanding and acceptance of the diversity of gender and sexuality. A lot of my work is variations of self portrait, I use my personal experiences to try and reach others. I am often trying to get a reaction from the viewer, to make them consider the issue at hand. I tend to make my work bright and playful even though I am often attempting to work through and express topics that are difficult to some, such as body dysmorphia or sexual trauma. I believe taking on a comical and colorful aspect can make difficult topics more approachable, and mirrors the way I try to cope with such issues.
I'm very inspired by outsider work and DIY zines found across various Queer communities. I love to see people being unapologetically themselves, and I try to reflect that same energy in my work.
Kyung Hee Im
My sculpture speaks about social and physical isolation and the many ways we maintain connections remotely. The isolation of the figurative elements in my artwork is as important as the connection and fragile threads that bind them together. Figurative sculptures of the whole body or a segment of the body portray the personal link to myself or my family. Physical distance creates limited connections between bodies. Segmented body parts are layered with plaster gauze over and over, molded, three-dimensionally printed, two-dimensionally printed, or imprinted on my own body. Binding the elements with thread in the final layer unites the various elements into one structure.
The thread's fragility causes it to break or cut easily, but the threads can also be easily re
connected. Fibers tend to stick together naturally and become entangled, which is analogous to human relationships. The threads represent life-lines to loved ones, states, corporations, self, and one's sense of identity. There is tension in the technology that connects us; it can also isolate us. Technological progress can cause people to question the contrast between individual and collective identity.
My work primarily focuses on human involvement and my understanding of the material world that surrounds us. In my work I’m combining very raw everyday materials with modern technology to create a visual relationship between material and human interaction. The goal of my art is to investigate and to understand themes of primitivity, time, and consciousness in the contemporary world, and how our direct relationship with digital mediums shapes that understanding.
With the use of raw materials and construction materials I’m trying to create sense of temporality within the work. I always find myself thinking about the fragility of life and this irony that the things we make end up outliving us. Another reason for pushing this narrative is the idea of contemporaneity, and how as humans we’re at the pinnacle of the future yet our existence is so primitive even with all of the technological advancements, and all of this convenience at our disposal. The means of using these materials is a way for me to involve my experience and my daily rituals into my work. Seeking out the things that make me who I am in this contemporary world. I also have this obsession with televisions, something so common and inherently human.
Materials are something that really captivate me, although I’m still having issues developing my connection and understanding of them, and how to use them from an aesthetic standpoint. The materials that interest me the most are the ones that appear to most as undesirable. Oriented strand board, led screens, polished steel, chains, lights, silicone, zip ties, industrial equipment, etc. The thing that interests me the most about these is that they’re typically not used for finite displays. The inner workings of things we paint over. For me there is an inherent connection between screens and say something like OSB board or concrete. And that what I'm interested in gaining a better understanding of. Also, this idea of integrating my digital sketches/paintings into my industrial sculpture premise. Next semester these are the things I’m going to start trying to understand. I have this hunger and need to understand how and why these materials and technologies are so important to me, and is something I seek answers for
My work is motivated by a desire to find understanding through objects, space and material. I am inspiration by phenomenology. My work plays with the idea that objects have souls, or a set existence that is assigned by man due to humanity’s understanding of objects. That is why, in my work I decontextualize objects. I find that if I can remove something from what it is known as I can further understand that object’s or material’s, obtaining for myself a more truthful understanding to the world around me.
An example of decontextualization in my work would be, the use of pool noodles in the sculpture Blue Churros, a collaborative piece I made with Wesley Flessner. Blue Churros is a fourteen foot-tall sculpture made from steel structures and pool noodles. By using these two materials I contrast their perceived value, in both perception and monetary cost. In some of my works I focus more on the object in order to create narrative. Objects have their own natural story, by using them I hope to add to or change how we perceive them. Tools are functional objects that inherently have more perceived meaning due to their functionality. Tools also tend to have specific peoples attached to them. By using tools in my work, I look at how a tool is perceived and how society perceives those who wield them.
Over the past few years, I have discovered my fascination with materials. On a physical level I like to learn everything from how materials are made, their potential use in my work, and how they can interact with each other. I think this fascination stems from my innate tinkering throughout my childhood, being interested in how things work. At the start of my materiality study I narrowed down my interest to materials, and learning to manipulate them. It is from this start that I realized human’s innate curiosity with objects, we all want to know how things are made and what they are made of. We
also attach feelings or emotions to materials, like how raw wood may make us feel warmer or the opposite with concrete making use feel colder. This is one of the ideas that has spiked my interest recently.
Often when creating my work people question me about the materials and their
use. This curiosity is the foundation of what I am trying to build off of conceptually
people want to look at this art because they want to know what it is made of. There are
so many concepts I have yet to explore in this within materiality, it really allows me to
have room to grow in and explore. My most recent projects have dealt with how these
materials visually interact with each other on display, and how they can be combined on
a small scale. These two concepts in of them selves have a ton of potential and I think
barely scratch the surface of materiality as a whole. I think eventually I might focus on
one concept, but now my mind is to engrossed by all of the possibilities to focus on one