Nov 3rd 2013

Ann Chen & Jiyoung Yoon: In Plain Cloak

@ The Bike Room

1109 W. North Shore Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Opening Sunday, November 3rd, from 4 PM - 7 PM

On view through Sunday, December 15th

A cloak conceals and reveals. Owing to the fabric’s heft – and to the objects that escape its cover – some cloaks serve to excite our imaginations into elaborate speculation. After all, what’s underneath?

Drawn to the metaphoric potential hidden in its rough architecture, Chen and Yoon’s projects for The Bike Room unfold from the ambiguous nature of disguise. Cracks and holes are appropriated; brittle shapes echo flaking plaster; stacked fragments camouflage, and are camouflaged by, the cement floor, trumping our perception of space.

Ann Chen evokes landscape experientially rather than as subject matter. Her careful articulations of nature are unromantic. Documenting phenomena such as changing light, humidity, scents and wind by inventing parallel processes in the studio, Chen’s poetic precision elucidates organic forms couched in artificiality. For example, in For the Time Being ripples are painstakingly hand-cut from vinyl-coated Sintra – a synthetic sheetrock. The artist freezes the fluid nature of water into stiff shards, literally petrifying its movement into stone. Image dictates medium in Chen’s practice. Thus, her approach to The Bike Room was to adapt its brick and mortar into the fabric of her concept. Chen’s drawings carry veiled innuendos of traditional Chinese landscape painting, but their frugality only permits essentials – the horizontality of line.

“Holes tell a story.” Jiyoung Yoon’s psychologically propelled installations dissect emotional symptoms of social dis-ease. Digging deeper, Yoon speaks of holes in the ozone layer, of stomach ulcers, crabholes on the tideland, cosmic black holes and white holes. “Every experience leaves a hole, creating a compulsion to fill it.” Yoon’s canny material investigations manifest as installations that are visual allegories for suffering, and as performative devices that propose antidotes. Her practice delves tirelessly into uncovering personal phobias and collective anguish. For her Bike Room installation, Yoon anthropomorphizes architectural flaws into psychic conundrums. Stretched, rope-like masses of tension seem to heave the walls inward, in an act of symbolic struggle.

Ann Chen’s exhibitions include Emerge Art Fair, Washington D.C, slow gallery, Chicago, the Research House for Asian Art and the Zhou B. Art Center, Chicago. She is recipient of the Midwestern Voices and Visions Award and has created works at the Peoria Center of the Arts and Roger Brown Residencies. Jiyoung Yoon holds an MFA in sculpture from SAIC, where she was recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship and the Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship. A recent resident at ACRE, Yoon has exhibited at 13.1 Gallery and the Kim Jong Young Museum, in Seoul, Korea, Chandelier and Sullivan Galleries, in Chicago.

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