If you asked Korean artist Yeom Jihee to describe her art in one word, it would be “hysteria”. Her monochromatic mixed media drawings feature a disorderly assemblage of figures and impossible objects, set in environments where the physical plane extends into a blank space of nothingness. Jihee uses these explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, and perspective to express her feelings of emotional conflict, or in her words, “a loss of self-control due to overwhelming fear.”
Primarily working with materials like collage and pencil, and stone powder on fabric, Ji-hee’s images present a surrealistic depiction of the world in a way that recalls the work of M.C. Escher. Drawings like “In the streets, nobody show the pain biting their life” present reality in multiple levels as if set on a theater stage, where we often find figures moving through the field of the picture from one environment to the next; in one scene, a woman walks up a nonsensical stairway into the sky, where in another, she gradually submerges herself into a dark lake.
“‘Hysteria’ refers to a fearful awareness of an unpredictable emotion particular to women,” Jihee explains. “The figures in my painting are thrown into hysteria by an unforeseen event. ‘What’ they decide to choose is irrelevant. What matters are the ‘choices’ they have in front of them. Hysteria could be the symptom indicating us to bring change through making our own choice.”