Simone Subal Gallery is pleased to present Nightshade, Mie Yim’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition features new paintings by Yim, as well as a selection of prominent works on paper produced over the last two decades.
Hurtling towards entropy, Yim’s frenetic, multilayered paintings recall biological systems, the endlessly pulsating locomotion of New York City, and the exuberance of sexuality. Yim tends to laboriously work and rework the same canvas, a generative process which often results in an inner glow emanating from within her complex subject matter. By interspersing imagery that swings wildly between the figurative and the abstract, Yim subtly draws upon visual and literary references that range from Asian kawaii culture, to stories of ancient warriors, to art historical tradition.
Yim’s proliferating subject matter often appears dynamic and pulsating, reminiscent of the mutations of a highly organized cellular network viewed inside of a petri dish. Her painting Bronx Boogie Woogie, 2023 has a direct relationship to Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie, 1943, a piece made shortly after Mondrian relocated to Manhattan and found himself in total awe of the living organism that is New York City. Evocative of a flesh-eating pinball machine or a crazed game of intestinal snakes and ladders, Yim’s vibrant homage spins Mondrian’s infatuation with New York City into a totally unique and guttural dimension.
Throughout her career, Yim has considered her practice as an engagement in varying levels of self-portraiture and relentlessly mines her own raw emotional material. In Howl, 2023, a grotesque female protagonist coyly peers back at a viewer over her shoulder. Furthering the flirtation between disgust and desire, the swirling landscape in the background of Howl, 2023 feels at once dazzling and deeply destabilizing. This tug-of-war between sensuality and repulsion is a primary concern that reverberates throughout Yim’s practice.
For Nightshade, Yim has decided to counterbalance the paintings on view with selections from her own expansive archive of works on paper, publicly excavating the evolution of her four decade-long creative practice and the arduous journey of being an artist living and working in New York City. Her works on paper vary in media and mood, from jubilant watercolors to somber oil pastels. What tightly binds these seemingly disparate works together is Yim’s unrelenting and courageous confrontation with herself and with the world she occupies – an urgent undertaking that seeks to get to the meat of it all.
Nightshade is an exhibition in conversation with Mie Yim’s concurrent solo exhibition, Belladonna, on view until May 6th, 2023 at Olympia (41 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002).
The two exhibitions take their names from highly toxic plants, and simultaneously refer to the themes of abject beauty explored in Yim’s work. Belladonna, a particularly dangerous perennial plant, belongs within the umbrella of the Nightshade family. The two galleries use this plant relationship to visualize the family of roots growing in the Lower East Side, and the blossoming of Mie Yim’s practice. For this occasion, Yim creates a unique wall mural in each gallery that acts as a portal and collapses time and space between the two exhibitions, feeding the limitless hunger for discovery within Yim’s work.