Critics’ Picks

Hiejin Yoo, I Am a Lone Reed, 2019, Flashe paint and oil on canvas, 46 x 42".

Hiejin Yoo, I Am a Lone Reed, 2019, Flashe paint and oil on canvas, 46 x 42".


Hiejin Yoo

Fredric Snitzer Gallery
1540 NE Miami Court
May 10–June 22, 2019

Falling in love, it’s said, slows time and clouds one’s better judgment. Details get hazy, except for the right ones—those become rose-colored. In Hiejin Yoo’s “The Recovery of Openness, Intimacy and Trust,” sunsets, lovers, and smooth-haired pets alike are imbued with the myopia of real devotion. The oil paintings look cropped, with some details removed to venerate other details. In Balmy As Spring Air, 2019, two long-armed torsos rub against each other, sharing a chair. In Any Ideas?, 2019, an orange-hued figure holds their own hand—perhaps for comfort. Yoo’s subjects are often postcard clichés—a fairy-tale house, a couple’s walk at sunset, a pet curled up on a chair—but her colors are expansive, her textures tender and meticulous. When she zooms in close and off-kilter, something dreamlike, not cloying, emerges: In You Came to My Dream Last Night, 2019, swaths of wheat overlay a mass of a hill, the silhouette of a head, and what might be a fence.

Yoo has said her images act as journal entries. Her strongest works are intimate but still private: In My Playground, 2019, plants and curving walkways bar the entirety of the image from view. The subjects in No Pictures Please and Please No Pictures, both 2018, hide their faces with their hands. In I Am a Lone Reed, 2019, a solitary figure walks with their hand in the pocket of their night-black trousers. The titular reeds are as wispy as snow. We don’t see this person's face—perhaps it is Yoo—but we can imagine their shadow.