Min adapts the vibrant abstract imagery of her paintings on canvas to the steps of the Hammer’s lobby staircase, in the first Hammer Project to be oriented on the floor rather than the walls.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Yunhee Min has been a longtime resident of California and an active participant in the Los Angeles contemporary art community. While the core of Min’s practice is painting, she also studied design and architecture, which has led to a number of large-scale sculptures and installations. Over the past two decades, her work has contributed to discourses surrounding the ever-expanding definition and possibilities for painting as a medium and the relationship between painting, surface, and space, especially architectural space and the body’s relationship to it. Min’s painting practice comes out of the history of conceptual art more than specific movements or genres within painting itself, and she has often deployed predetermined systems and logic in order to dictate aspects of her works—such as its color palette—and limit the number of choices she could make as an artist, thereby removing the tendency to “read” her paintings as primarily personal expression.
Min’s examination of the impact of the Light and Space movement on generations of artists in Los Angeles is evident in her newest washy, layered, and brightly colored paintings. In these works, the artist distills her attentiveness to the outside world—Southern California’s distinct environment saturated with bright sunlight and captivating sunsets yet continuously punctuated by the manufactured and industrial aspects of the city—into single gorgeously optical and moody canvases. Embracing intuition more than ever before, Min’s inventiveness as a colorist is evident. Working horizontally, she uses a variety of actions such as pouring, rolling, overlapping, and swirling to move the paint around on the surfaces of both canvas and glass. For the Hammer, she adapts the vibrant abstract imagery of her recent approach to painting to the steps of the lobby staircase, in the first Hammer Project to be oriented to the floor rather than the walls. Min completely alters the surface of the stairs themselves, while also making subtle modifications to the walls and lighting in the lobby to underscore how context impacts experience and enhance the visitors’ awareness of the architecture.
Hammer Projects: Yunhee Min is organized by Anne Ellegood, senior curator.