December 2, 2023 – January 27, 2024
Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to announce Storyteller Yellow, Jiha Moon’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Storyteller Yellow will be on view from December 2, 2023 through January 27, 2024, with an opening reception on Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 4-6 PM.
Jiha Moon’s ceramics and painting draw from Korean folklore, Western contemporary art, and popular culture to create hybrid forms with a vibrant and personal visual language. Born in Daegu, South Korea and recently moving to Tallahassee, Florida after living in Atlanta for 18 years, Moon’s iconography speaks to the complexity of human experience in a globalized world where images are easily shared and recontextualized. She is a cartographer of cultures and an icon maker of cultural landscapes, including symbols from American and Korean culture to produce works that look both familiar and unconventional. In Storyteller Yellow, Moon’s visual vocabulary includes dumplings, fortune cookies, peach, Haetae, banana peels, Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, Milagro, and fireworks along with images of the artist’s son and pets to connect these motifs to her personal history. Embracing contrasting ideas and imagery is a way for Moon to subvert commonly held stereotypes of Asian and Asian-American communities, instead celebrating Asian culture by putting traditional symbols in conversation with emblems of contemporary pop-culture.
The title Storyteller Yellow is drawn from Moon’s interest in the color yellow, which she investigates in both aesthetic and racialized contexts. Moon uses yellow for its “social, political, or cultural point of view,” acknowledging an association between the color and racial slurs towards Asian-Americans. Through abundant and prominent uses of yellow in her work, Moon subverts biases against the color and transforms yellow into a point of joy. The blossoms of chrysanthemums, broad strokes of yellow dancing between visual references to landscape painting, the inclusion of a banana peel stretching across a canvas, and the bold use of yellow as a vibrant base become points of exuberance in these works. By centering and celebrating yellow, the color becomes a piece of conversation through Moon’s work, forcing viewers to acknowledge its presence and conjure positive associations with yellow, such as sunshine.
Moon’s work acknowledges the multicultural world taking shape around us, and her mixing of iconography asks the viewer to reflect on how art and society can benefit from this fusion. Posing the question of where someone or something “comes from” is not simple – and often times not important – in the 21st century. All of the works in Storyteller Yellow push the boundaries of categorization, inhabiting many identities at once and reflecting the diversity of experiences and cultures in our world.
Jiha Moon (b. 1973) lives and works in Tallahassee, Florida. She received a BFA from Korea University, Seoul, an MFA from Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Art at Florida State University, Tallahassee. Moon is a 2023 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in Fine Arts. She has exhibited in museums and galleries internationally including the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, FL; Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AR; and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA. Her work is in the collections of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; High Museum, Atlanta, GA; Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY; Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; and Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, among many others.