Blue Peony and Impure Thoughts

Saltworks Gallery, Atlanta
January 23 - March 6, 2010

Opening Reception
Saturday, January 23, 6pm-9pm

SALTWORKS is pleased to present Blue Peony and Impure Thoughts, featuring new works on paper and an installation by Atlanta-based artist Jiha Moon. The exhibition will be on view from January 23, 2010 through March 6, 2010. This is the second solo exhibition of Ms. Moon's work at the gallery.

Botan Dog
Botan Dog, 2009, ink, acrylic and embroidery on hanji paper mounted on canvas, 10" diameter

 Throughout her artistic career, the multivalent paintings of Korea-born and Atlanta-based artist Jiha Moon have operated in several distinctive yet visually cohesive realms. As the title of her current Saltworks Gallery exhibition―“Blue Peony and Impure Thoughts”―suggests, this handsome body of work simultaneously conflates cultural references and confounds expectations, all while accommodating multiple audience interpretations. 

 The unnatural abounds in everyday life and in Moon’s compositions, like the blue peony, found in Cheoyong and others. Traditional pink or white peonies represent luxury and wealth―the opposite of lotuses, which signify spirituality―but blue peonies don’t exist in nature, twisting the expectation of these signature shapes. In this spirit, another shifting character in her work is an inu-hariko, another symbol for good fortune, which looks like a cat, but is actually a dog found on traditional Japanese toys and sweets like Botan Rice Candy (botan means peony in Japanese). Therefore, these lush surfaces have deeper, changeable underpinnings, as the “true” identities of each figure fades in and out of focus. - Excerpt from exhibition essay by Atlanta-based curator Stephanie Greene. 

 Jiha Moon lives and works in Atlanta, GA. Recent solo exhibitions include Turbulence Utopia, Mint Museum, Charolette, NC and Pleasant Purgatory, Brain Factory, Seoul, Korea. Selected group exhibitions include the One Way or Another, Asia Society and Museum, NY (traveling); Currents, Recent Acquisitions, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Movement, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Art on Paper Biennial, Weatherspoon Museum, NC. Selected artist residencies include Headlands Center for the Arts, Golden Foundation fellowship, Sausalito, CA; Art Omi International Artists Residency, Ghent, NY; and the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, artist residency awarded by Asia Society and Museum, New York, NY. Moon is currently an artist-in-residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadephia, PA

Preview: Jiha Moon’s new solo opens Saturday at Saltworks - Burnaway, January 2010

By Jeremy Abernathy on January 21, 2010

The imagery in Jiha Moon‘s paintings can thunder with laughter, whisper of legends long forgotten and some yet to be lived, and shed mournful tears of dripping blue and pink paint. Her new exhibition, opening at Saltworks Gallery this Saturday, January 23, from 6-9PM, is titled Blue Peony and Impure Thoughts. As Atlanta-based curator Stephanie Greene observes in her essay on the exhibition, “Traditional pink or white peonies represent luxury and wealth—the opposite of lotuses, which signify spirituality—but blue peonies don’t exist in nature.” In our interview below, the artist elaborates on her title and her influences and challenges in creating her recent work.

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Jiha Moon at Saltworks - Art in America, May 2008

by Rebecca Dimling Cochran

Jiha Moon studied both traditional Korean painting and Western painting at university in her native Korea. She furthered her knowledge of the latter in the United States, but it remains particularly telling that her early training was based in a system in which the two practices were distinctly separate. In her small- to medium-size works, she has developed a style of painting that is not so much a fusion as a harmonious layer- ing of the two traditions' distinct mark-making and leitmotifs.

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What a Feeling - Creative Loafing Charlotte, April 2008

By Scott Lucas, April 02, 2008

Ever recall being told a good story of great joy or regret or sorrow, and later, on attempting a recall, you forget the entire tale except for the feeling attending the yarn? That's a Jiha Moon painting. Ethereal, luxurious, undulating, captivating, carry-you-away from yourself vivid. Hard nails run soft down your back. Can't remember what you saw, won't soon forget what you felt.

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Urbancode #3 - 2007

by Jessica Gorman

Korean-born artist Jiha Moon talks with urbancode magazine in advance of her upcoming solo exhibition at the Curator’s Office micro gallery. The space is located in the District at 1515 14th Street NW, suite 201. Moon’s work will be on view from September 15 – October 20, 2007.

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Weather Channels - New York Sun, 2007

By David Cohen, May 17, 2007

When it comes to painting, evoking the elements calls for elemental solutions. In three beautiful exhibitions in Chelsea right now, contemporary artists balance a fascination with water, clouds, and ethereal, billowing forms with audacious experimental attitudes toward traditional materials. Each body of work manifests a heightened consciousness of paint's formal properties that are appropriate to what it is depicting, in terms of liquidity or brittleness, fluency or arrest.

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