December 12, 2020 - February 26, 2021
Press Release PDF
Upon entering the gallery, you notice someone sitting behind a desk. They greet you warmly through their mask before asking to check your temperature. You comply, bringing your hand towards the thermometer. The desk, the mask, the thermometer—these are only some of the objects present between you and the other person in this brief moment of interaction. Whether it be with loved ones or strangers, our relationships—and seemingly now more than ever—are mediated by objects.
Helen J Gallery is proud to present The Things Between You and Me: Candice Joo & Choi Young Wook, a joint exhibition at Helen J Gallery. Highlighting this mediation of objects, each artist presented contemplates life’s encounters by repeatedly rendering an object of their choice. On continued display are Choi Young Wook's karmic moon jars, featured alongside emerging contemporary artist Candice Joo's object chains. Choi and Joo depict dramatic landscapes of interconnectedness, their paintings together conveying the multidimensionality of selfhood, relationships, and collectivity.
Having begun her career within the world of architecture, Candice Joo (b. 1983) creates works that reflect this experience; while her paintings embrace industrial materiality and the practice of conjoining structural forms, they do so to capture that which transcends physicality alone. At times twisted into knot-like hearts, and at other times individually and serially arranged, Joo’s “object chains” are a recurring motif in her work.
For Joo, these objects are “a reminder of how fragile we are as individuals.” They reflect only off each other, unaffected by the colorful backgrounds they are submerged in. Serially arranged to create dramatic landscapes of independence or intertwinement; these photorealistic chains exist within a vague temporality—against ambiguous landscapes, solid backgrounds, and hazy gradients. In this exhibition, works from her Love Reflection and Resistance series come together to visualize the nuanced nature of human relationships.
Choi Young Wook’s object of choice is not a chain but a moon jar (달항아리; dalhangari)—a round ceramic vessel with roots in 15th century Korea. It was encountering one at The Metropolitan Museum of Art fifteen years ago that inspired Choi to repeatedly render them as a subject in his renowned Karma series. The path-like cracks in the moon jar resonated with him, prompting him to contemplate the paths within his own life. His resulting hyperrealistic moon jar paintings are metaphorical vessels filled with webs of encounter, embodying what Choi sees as a cycle of karma.
Within Joo and Choi’s paintings alike, "shapes and lines flow from one ring to another like personal histories and life encounters, generating new associations from past to future […] between the artist and the audience." The Things Between You and Me: Candice Joo & Choi Young Wook opens following a series of cultural workshops hosted by Helen J Gallery in an effort to safely provide an ongoing space for connection, at a time when doing so has become increasingly challenging.