March 11, 2020 | by Rebecca Anne Proctor
Korean muralist stages first exhibition in the Middle East
The gallery aims to provide a stage for cross-cultural exchange through exhibitions that bring artists from diverse cultures and backgrounds to a new audience
DUBAI: A curious mix of artworks and sculptures could be seen through the windows of Facilitate Dubai, a new concept space in Dubai Design District (d3).
Alluring profiles of Asian women depicted in an animation-inspired style are being showcased in South Korean-born artist Stickymonger’s (real name Joohee Park) first exhibition in the Middle East.
Titled “Lonesome Planet,” her expo subjects, presented on giant canvases, appear lost in an otherworldly realm.
A self-confessed night owl, the New York City-based artist, explores the interplay between darkness and light, innocence and fear. The women in her paintings and life-size sculptures are portrayed with child-like wonder yet appear to be completely absorbed in another world.
The display is the inaugural exhibition of Four You Gallery, a travelling venue-by-appointment founded by Sarya N. Marié.
“It exclusively showcases the work of female artists. Through its thoughtfully curated exhibitions the gallery will offer the works of an international roster of female artists to a global audience,” said Marié.
A “lack of representation for female artists in art galleries and in the mainstream art market,” was the motivation for Marié to foster an art platform specially for women.
The gallery aims to provide a stage for cross-cultural exchange through exhibitions that bring artists from diverse cultures and backgrounds to a new audience.
“Four You Gallery is dedicated to the artist regardless of their nationality, medium, or career status and aims to celebrate, support and empower,” added Marié.
Stickymonger, who currently resides in an expansive studio-cum-apartment taking up the entire 79th floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York City, creates work inspired by her experience of the world.
Framed by concrete walls and large windows with breathtaking views over the city, her large-scale murals and paintings often have an autobiographical tendency that merges melancholy with playfulness.
Her works have been displayed around the world, including at Art Basel and Frieze via Kaikai Kiki Gallery and various spaces in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
“Spray Nirvana” (2019) is a series of animation-rendered female sculptures made in a glossy matte pantone 243C colored in candy pink and black and white with gold dots each holding a spray can.
Stickymonger’s aerosol paint on canvas works, in black and white and subdued pastel colors, are each 16 inches in diameter with titles such as “Mellow,” “Love,” “Ahhhh,” and “Star.” They too are filled with emotions that capture everyday life.
Other works created with aerosol paint on shaped canvas have titles such as “Candy Break,” “Bewildered,” “Sweet Dilemma,” and “Gotta Do What I Gotta Do.”
The artist’s larger canvases exude an ethereal power. Girls, with large-gaping eyes, take in the world around them and are stationed amidst a dreamy, obscure backdrop that allows the viewer to drift along with them into another time and space.
Alongside playfulness there is also a mocking and resistant tone to Stickymonger’s work.
In “Play with Me in Hell,” a large acrylic and aerosol painting on canvas comes with a life-size sculpture in polystone of a woman with long wavy hair, wearing a red dress and hugging a smiling monster.
Perhaps it is the artist’s modern-day rendition of beauty and the beast, an artwork that mocks at what might be seen as the world’s current state of chaos.