Jiha Moon: A Mad Tea Party

Moon Placard 1

The Sumter County Gallery of Art is beyond excited to present “Jiha Moon – A Mad Tea Party” a large solo exhibition of works by Korean American artist Jiha Moon, September 5 – November 1, 2019

Jiha Moon is a contemporary artist who focuses on painting, printmaking, and sculptural ceramic objects. Born in Daegu, South Korea, Moon is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia. Moon earned a BFA at Korea University and an MFA at EWHA University, both in Seoul. After moving to the U.S., she earned an MFA at the University of Iowa. Moon was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, in 2008, The Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC, 2014, American University Museum, Washington, DC, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 2015 and a massive exhibition curated by The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC, that traveled to the Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA and Kalamazoo, MI. She is also a recipient of a prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s Working Artist Project grant. Moon’s work is in many notable permanent collections including, High Museum, Atlanta, GA, Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA, Smithsonian Institute, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, and Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC

Moon typically renders her works using ink and acrylic paint on Hanji paper (traditional Korean mulberry paper). Often, she places the paper on the floor and stands or kneels to apply her calligraphic brushstrokes. After completing the abstract composition in this way, Moon reconfigures some of the markings to suggest recognizable images, such as cartoon characters and incorporates mass-produced items like textiles, embroidered patches, and small trinkets with her hand-rendered elements. In her image- and color-saturated paintings and prints, Jiha Moon mashes up materials, motifs, and techniques to create dreamlike compositions, stuffed with Eastern and Western art historical and pop cultural references that challenge fixed notions of cultural identity and represent our information-overloaded world. Everything is fair game for Moon—she draws from sources high and low, real and virtual, ancient and contemporary, including 13th-century Taoist painting, American Pop, Disney cartoons (Snow White makes an appearance in the Sumter exhibition), Dr. Seuss books, internet emoticons, fortune cookies, and Asian restaurant menus. Her exuberant compositions burst across the picture plane. Gestural, abstract passages and calligraphic brushstrokes flow into landscapes, in which viewers may find Snow White with an idealized Chinese female figure, while smiley emojis and ripe peaches float about them. At once playful and dark, Moon’s work parodies the persistence of cultural stereotypes in our globalized world.

Daniel Fuller, Curator at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center notes, “Jiha Moon is in a perpetual state of “other” as she mines numerous histories and cultures, distilling them into sly and challenging works of art. There is no filter, just a quirky mix matching of references. Moon harvests cultural elements native to Korea, Japan, and China and then unites them with Western elements to investigate the multi-faceted nature of our current global identity as influenced by popular culture, technology, racial perceptions, and folklore. Moon blurs the lines between Western and Eastern identified iconography such as the characters from the online game Angry Birds and smart phone Emojis. They float alongside Asian tigers and Indian gods in compositions that appear both familiar and foreign, ancient and modern.” 

For the Sumter Gallery exhibition, Moon plans to present her largest “Tea Ceremony” installation to date. A series of low beautifully crafted tables will display numerous, intricate, ceramic pieces both large and small crafted by Moon. In addition, there will be new prints and paintings. Moon will give her artist talk at the opening reception, Thursday, September 5th. She will also conduct a painting workshop on Friday, September 6th   which has proved popular and unfortunately filled up quickly and is not open to further registration.

As always, everything we do at the Sumter Gallery is a community effort. To bring an important artist such as Moon to our community, it takes a lot of belief and support. Thank you to First Citizens, Jones Chevrolet, Sub Station II, Zaxby’s, The Glemore and May Sharp Trust, Jay Schwartz, Susan and Jim Allen and the Sumter County Cultural Commission which receives support from the John & Susan Bennett Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC, the SC Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Flowers courtesy of Poinsett-Bland Garden Club & the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter.


Opening Reception and Artist Talk

Thursday, September 5th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Painting workshop with Jiha Moon

Friday, September 6th, 6 – 9 pm (full)

Moon Placard 2

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