Paintings by Leeah Joo

Monday, February 11–Tuesday, March 26, 2019

(Gallery Closed: Feb. 21 and March 16–24)

  • Reception: Thursday, February 14, 5:30–7:30 pm, with gallery talk by Joo at
    6:30 pm and music by Cobra Lounge Trio
  • Additional artist lecture: Thursday, February 14 at 1:15 pm in Room U140
  • Axonometric Projection Workshop: Thursday, February 14 at 2 pm in
    Room U140: Space is limited and registration is required. Please call 217/351-2485 to reserve your seat.

Leeah Joo is a Korean American painter who explores themes of cross-cultural experiences. Joo’s body of complex, realistic paintings on exhibit explores different connotations of drapery as a still-life subject, filtered through the lens of an Asian American immigrant. The fabric folds and bundles lend themselves to being read as more than just simple still lifes, while their designs conflate mythological creatures found in Asian art with contemporary figures.

“In one sense, [my work] celebrates the simple beauty and the tradition of Korean brocades saved for special occasions, birthdays, or New Year,” Joo explains. “Then the drapes and folds transform into mountains and oceans informed by recent events, such as the image of the victorious smile on an infamous dictator on top of Paektu Mountain in North Korea.”

Joo will provide a workshop exploring “Axonometric Projection,” on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required by calling the gallery at 217/351-2485. Axonometric projection (also called parallel perspective) is typically found in East Asian scroll paintings, which inspired her work. Unlike the linear perspective refined in the Renaissance, the parallel perspective has no vanishing point, creating a bird’s eye point of view that continues without an end. These scrolls therefore convey expansive space and time, which allows the possibility of an endless timeline for a narrative, as in “The Tale of Genji,” a 12th-century scroll which took decades to create and is 450 feet long. The workshop will explore this alternate way of depicting space, which goes against the fundamental teachings of perspective drawing.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Joo moved as a child with her family to Indianapolis, where she spent her youth. Joo studied painting at Indiana University in Bloomington (BFA ’94) and Yale School of Art (MFA ‘96). She is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Joo lives and works in Connecticut where she teaches drawing and painting at Southern CT State University. She is represented by Andrew Bae Gallery in Chicago.