The work of Yehrim Lee, a visiting artist at the University of Georgia, consists of an intricate network of materials hung from the ceiling with fishing wire.
Fired clay, paper, plastic and fabric all combine into an elaborate and delicate-looking work that resembles both a coral reef and wisps of smoke.
Lee’s sculpture, called “Let Me Grow II,” is part of the Mint Gallery’s 5th annual juried exhibition. The show now on display is titled “Interrupted.”
“My work is mainly exploring my situation of living in both East and West,” Lee said.
You can see that East/West disparity in the materials she uses — felt scraps and clay, plastic mixed with shapes cut from paper. Lee explains that they’re things that shouldn’t go together, yet somehow are able to coexist in the same work of art. That spirit extends to the rest of the gallery.
The name of the exhibit comes from the tendency in the works for one medium to “interrupt” another.
“A painting has buttons and glitter …” Atlanta-based artist and the show’s juror Jiha Moon said, citing examples around the room, “video works made out of prints.”
For this exhibit, Moon chose work from over 1,500 submissions from more than 200 artists. All told, “Interrupted” collects the work of 13 emerging artists.
“When I selected the work, I wanted to include everybody,” she said. “Lots of different styles, different medium, like sculpture to painting to installation to work on paper, photography and video work.”
Moon said though she was aiming for the eclectic and inclusive with no theme in mind, she’s found a recurring idea in the works she selected — challenging the male gaze.
“Oftentimes, female bodies in the traditional manner, they are models, they’re being beautiful, they’re also being looked at, instead of being active or iconic figures,” Moon said. “And I thought that it was interesting, with lots of things going on in the world, including the ‘Me Too’ movement — I thought that was really interesting that female artists were making this statement.”
And the tone of the works range from serious to silly. One work by Nancy Roy-Meyer, titled “Bully,” borrows a pose from an iconic portrait of Napoleon astride his horse as it rears back. The artist has replaced Napoleon with a self-portrait. The work is done in an almost over-the-top colorful style, incorporating glitter and puff paint. It calls to mind artwork by Lisa Frank adorning Trapper Keepers from the 1980s.
Elsewhere in the gallery, the work of Kristy Higby takes the images of powerful white men and shrinks them down, putting them on what looks like jewelry as if to say that for once, they are the ornament.
While “Interrupted” is not overtly intended to be a reaction to the “Me Too” movement, Moon points out that when cultural shifts like that happen, artists tend to react in their work.
“It doesn’t have to be directly political work, but somehow, it reacts,” she said. “Some of the work [is] more blunt and obvious, but some of the work is really subtle.”
And whether an artist speaks with a loud voice or a quiet voice, Moon said that both need to be heard.
“Interrupted” is on view through May 26 at Mint’s new location in South Downtown, 92 Peachtree St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.