Korean-American artist Rimi Yang was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. She moved to the United States in 1986 and shortly after, settled in California where she continues to live and work today. In addition to having exhibited wide ly across the US and Canada throughout her career, the artist has recently been shown in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Dublin and England.
Yang’s paintings -mostly figurative, but with a playful approach to abstraction- reveal an intuitive, contrast-rich take on Eastern and Western art history. It is as though they are struggling to make sense of dualities which simultaneously inspire and confuse us in their attempts to structure the world. Pleasantly suspended between familiar polarities like east-west, male-female, high-low and old-new, the viewer can’t help but be moved by the artist’s apparent search for meaning.
In a recent interview, Rimi Yang pondered the idea that; “Mankind tries to order the un-orderable, explain the inexplicable. Do we really always need to reason, understand and structure, or could we instead seek out the vibration that connects all life in an instant?”
Yang describes her process as a form of meditation, where creativity takes precedence over the subject. In her paintings, this process is celebrated with a technique that is immediately recognizable. Within each carefully placed brushstroke, there is evidence of iconic images being de-constructed, techniques being mixed, and a calculated blurring of the border between one and two-dimensional realms. Her journey frequently references universal feelings associated with childhood innocence, and urges for security, protection and love.
Amongst her most recent paintings, stunning female portraits influenced by Old Masters hint at some degree of historical regression. By making a journey into the past, the artist silently tributes the lives, minds and desires that trickle down from the collective ego of art history.
In describing her works, Yang resists the temptation to speak in a detached artistic voice, and rather finds solace in an old Japanese saying: “Isogaba Maware”; a reminder that we should consider taking a longer route, or more time, especially when we are n a hurry.
Text by Kirsten Hinder
Photography by Sabine Pearlman