Whether they’re her bug-eyed, psychedelic deities or creatures made of brightly colored fruits, Mi Ju’s curious creations have us looking at both the big and small picture. On the surface, her characters float through seemingly chaotic worlds buzzing with wild energy. A closer look reveals a whole universe of tiny, emoji-like faces, animals and flora that together make up the larger image. It’s through this simultaneous macro- and microscopic lens that the artist presents her colorful, absorbing environments. Find more of her work on Tumblr and Instagram.
Mi Ju was born in Daegu, South Korea in 1983. Growing up, she often spent time observing the diverse patterns and textures of fabrics in her father’s textile factory, or exploring the ornate Buddhist temples where her mother worked as a florist. As a student, Ju traveled to Australia and North America, where she encountered the aboriginal topographical art and Native American totem poles that continue to inform her aesthetic. The artist also draws heavily from Korean folk art and scientific theory, such as the Gaia principle, in her various works.
Now living in Brooklyn, the artist has brought her paintings to solo and group exhibitions in Copenhagen, New York, San Francisco, and Seoul. Her work is part of collections at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Los Angeles and Ole Faarup in Copenhagen.
“My work is an improvisation in liminality: between dream and concretized, ancient and contemporary, Korea and the West, ephemeral and eternal, the uncensored and codified,” her artist statement (from Joshua Liner Gallery) reads. “Each character, pattern and energy reflects states of consciousness that are revealed in the creative act, a form of both improvisation and organization wherein the uncensored is working in concert with momentary, yet specific compositional organizations. It is my intention that the work will be a place of meeting between memory, dream and fantasy, and concretized into meaningful visual terms.”