Symbols, words, images. These elements float through our daily lives, each of us perceiving and interpreting them differently. The same everyday landscape that we all experience is uniquely and individually understood. Every sound, smell, and texture—every element of the world—speaks differently to each of us.

“Idiolect” is defined as “an individual’s unique use of language, including speech.” This exhibition reveals the ways in which artists and their works speak in unique ways that may be peculiar to the viewer. The three artists in this exhibition, Miyuki Akiyama, Jonathan Ehrenberg, and Michael Aaron Lee explore their daily encounters with familiar (or sometimes unfamiliar) notations and representations in their works. Akiyama paints symbols and letters that she appropriates from sources such as grocery store ads, newspapers, and children’s books, layering them on fabric, and interspersing them with the texture and design of the material. Ehrenberg’s white wall hanging sculptures are made of paper clay and populated with objects that seem both recognizable and strange. Anthropomorphic forms that seem to be in nascent stages of evolution combine with recognizable human body parts, which together seem forever in the process of becoming. Lee’s paper collage constructions are created with cut paper that is built up into layered reliefs that are completely colored over with graphite. The flat patterned works form systematic structures that reference American folk art and craftmanship. In all of these works, letters, forms, and textures are embedded into and onto the surfaces, forming signals that oscillate between comprehensibility and unknowability that direct the way we perceive information and construct our understanding of the world.

Miyuki Akiyama (b.1980, Okayama, Japan) received a BFA and an MFA in Painting from Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan, after which she moved to Beijing, China to attend a Post-Graduate Research Program in Experimental Art at China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Through Chinese Government Award Scholarships she remained there for two years to research and study Chinese traditional landscape painting. Akiyama, who moved to New York five years ago, now finds the inspiration in the NY surroundings that are still relatively new to her. Also as a mother of a young child, Akiyama performs and exhibits as hanage (an artist collaborative with Marico Aoki and Shoko Toda), an experiment to bridge her studio practice and motherhood. She has exhibited her work at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art (Okayama, Japan), Fuchu Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan), and magical Artroom (Tokyo, Japan), and at many additional venues. Her work is in Takahashi Ryutaro Collection, The Jean Pigozzi Collection, and Imago Mundi Collection.

Jonathan Ehrenberg (b.1975, New York, NY) received an MFA from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, in Painting and Printmaking, and a BFA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University. Ehrenberg works with various media, including painting, sculpture, and video. Ehrenberg is interested in moments in which the mechanisms of the mind are exposed and reality is revealed as a construct, a seemingly coherent world we piece together from sensory information, associations, reflection, cognition, and emotion. Jonathan Ehrenberg’s work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York), Sculpture Center (LIC), The Drawing Center (New York), Nicelle Beauchene Gallery (New York), Futura Center (Prague, Czech Republic), The B3 Biennial (Frankfurt, Germany), and Nara Roesler (São Paulo, Brazil). He has participated in numerous residencies, including LMCC Workspace (New York), Harvestworks (New York), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME), and Triangle Arts Association (Brooklyn). Ehrenberg’s work has been reviewed in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Art in America. Ehrenberg is an active artist member of Essex Flowers (New York).

Michael Aaron Lee (b.1972, Cincinnati, OH) holds a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA from Hunter College, New York, NY. Lee’s multi-layered paper sculpture/painting is inspired by American folk art frames from the turn of the last century. His works are informed by American vernacular objects and decorative designs, that connect his personal memories to a larger cultural memory. Lee has shown his work nationally and internationally, including Prime Matter at the Tekningsmuseet in Laholm, Sweden and other venues from Chongqing to Los Angeles, Budapest, and Paris. His work has been reviewed in Two Coats of Paint, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, and The Austin American Statesman among others. He is a co-founder of the Artist Lecture Series, a program begun in 2011 in which contemporary New York artists share their work and ideas.