Guimi You

Guimi You (b. 1985 in Seoul, lives and works in Albany, Calif.) received her MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2014, and holds a BFA and an MFA in Korean portraiture and landscape art from Seoul National University, Korea in 2008 and 2011. She had solo exhibitions at Make Room, Los Angeles (2021); Monya Rowe Gallery, New York (2020 and 2018).
September 21, 2021
Tell us about your practice.
I embrace various roles and environments that surround me in my life, including those of a mother, artist, and life in California. I am developing a sort of album composed of paintings that depict impressive moments or emotions I experience throughout my life.
Many of your works depict nature with dream-like qualities. Can you explain the significance of this?
Nature is fluid and constantly evolving, so I don’t believe there is a need to portray them as static and immovable. As a result, this perception of nature has led me to develop a style of painting that may appear dream-like to the viewer.
What are some of the important themes in your most recent exhibition “Color Me” at Make Room LA?
As the title “Color Me” may suggest, the works in this exhibition incorporate certain elements and simple practices found in children’s art, such as coloring numbers, cutting and pasting paper, sketching, and painting. I regularly encounter these pure and simple artistic activities through my child, and they complement my identity as both a mother and artist. While the title “Color Me” may sound like it is addressed to an outsider, it is actually a call-to-action directed at myself to further grow and discover my identity.
Can you elaborate on the approach you take to portray the figures in your paintings?
A majority of my paintings contain a sole figure placed within an outdoor or indoor space. The state of being alone represents loneliness and fosters a similar atmosphere within the paintings. I also prefer not to depict the figures’ faces in detail, as the figures can represent anyone as opposed to a specific person. I hope that my paintings could evoke special memories or emotions from the viewers’ past.
What has been inspiring you lately?
I currently reside in Albany, and I walk to my studio that is 10 minutes away every day. I always marvel at the numerous vibrant gardens in my neighborhood. I find the infinite colors and shapes of nature inspiring to me and hope to incorporate more of those aspects in my work moving forward.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently taking a little break but I will start getting ready for an upcoming group exhibition at WOAW Gallery in Hong Kong soon.

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