"Draped and Bundled: Paintings by Leeah Joo" at Giertz Gallery

"Draped and Bundled: Paintings by Leeah Joo" at Giertz Gallery

Connecticut-based artist Leeah Joo explores cross-cultural themes in her works

"Draped and Bundled," a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Connecticut-based artist Leeah Joo, will open Feb. 11 at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. 

This exhibit runs through March 26 and includes an artist reception Thursday, Feb. 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception features a gallery talk by Joo at 6:30 p.m. and music by the Cobra Lounge Trio. Joo will provide an additional lecture earlier that day, at 1:15 p.m. in Room U140. She will also provide an Axonometric Projection Workshop at 2 p.m. in Room U140.

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. 

Spring gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 2 p.m. Gallery will be closed March 16–24 for spring break.
To find the gallery we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Walk past the gym and the fountain area, enter through door X7, turn left, and follow the ramps up to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email

For more information on gallery exhibits, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit
[ImagePojagi Hope, oil on canvas, 48” x 48”, 2017]
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