A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce The Faraway Nearby, a relay exhibition that features the works and exchanges of eight Asian women artists who engaged in a five-month-long dialogue project curated by Jiyeon Paik. Inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s book The Faraway Nearby, the exhibition fosters stories that have resonated across time and bound artists together.

The Faraway Nearby will unfold over four weeks. Each rotation will showcase a different pair of artists. The artists embrace intuition and indeterminacy as part of their creative process and recognize that vulnerability can play a role in forging connections. Their artworks encompass a range of media, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, videos, photographs, and performances, and explore themes such as identity, belonging, home, health, and politics. The exhibition will also include archival materials from the artists’ dialogues.

Week 1: Yasi Alipour and Kyoung Eun Kang share their thoughts and experiences on sisterhood, language, and their everyday life through letters, photos, and videos. The two artists braid a scarf's fringe and hair in their respective locations—New York and Jinhae—as a gesture of intimacy and care in Braid (2023), and capture their reunion and dance together in the sculpture garden at MoMA in New York in Dancing with Yasi (2023).

Week 2: Kyunglim Lee and Jahyun Seo, who immigrated to New York around the same time, examine their identities as mothers, Christians, and artists. Lee’s cardboard sculptures and paintings depict her self-portrait as a dented cushion, while Seo’s digital drawings and paintings represent her simultaneous life in Seoul and New York.

Week 3: Bonam Kim and Lu Zhang explore the theme of women’s health through Korean and Chinese herbs. Through works in plaster and ceramic, they share their personal stories of losing family members during the pandemic and finding the meaning of home in different ways.

Week 4: Chang Sujung and Seung-Min Lee will present tote bags that convey their critique of social and political issues. They examine the elitism of the art world, as reflected in the tote bags of prominent events and institutions, and people’s aspiration for social recognition, as manifested in the counterfeit bag market. At the end of the show, Chang and Lee will perform a bag clinic and distribute the remaining bags to the audience.

The Faraway Nearby is a project that explores different ways the process of dialogue might unfold between Asian women artists, engendering feelings of both empathy and solidarity. As Solnit writes,

The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a storyteller.

The exhibition invites the audience to join the conversation and witness the stories of the faraway nearby. The Faraway Nearby is a fiscally sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts. The project is supported in part by Seo Culture and YWS Foundation.

Jiyeon Paik is a Korean immigrant and independent curator in New York. Her research concerns contemporary representations of race, gender, and aging with a particular focus on issues of marginalization, and the body in art by women and artists of color. She worked with non-profit art organizations and commercial galleries such as Gallery Hyundai, New York; Doosan Gallery New York, New York; New York Public Library, New York; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston; NARS Foundation, New York; Arario Museum in Space, Seoul; Art Sonje Center, Seoul, among others. Her selected curatorial exhibitions include Seeing and Being Seen (Seoul Arts Center, 2020), Detaching (Parenthesis) (Doosan Gallery New York, 2018), Stranger Comes to Town (Gallery Sejul, 2017), Between the Lines: Korean Contemporary Art Since 1970 (Arario Gallery, 2014), and The Room (Total Museum, 2014). Paik is currently running the curatorial project, The Faraway Nearby, that features the stories and art of Asian immigrant women artists from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Yasi Alipour is an Iranian artist/writer based in New York. Her tactile works on paper use folding to explore mathematics as a language, with all the historical, social, political, mortal, and embodied ramifications any language holds. Alipour currently lives in Brooklyn and wonders about paper, lines, horizons, and non-orientable surfaces, probing personal history and mathematical propositions to parse historical interruption. She is a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award (2022), Sharpe Walentas Studio Program Award (2019/2021), Rema Hort Foundation Emerging Artist Nominee (2018/2019), and the Triple Canopy Publication Intensive (2018). Her work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally, spaces including Schlomer Hause (2023), 12 Gates Gallery (2022), the Geary Contemporary (2021), Secca (2020), Venice Biennale (2019), Hercules Program (2019), 17 Essex (2019), Limiditi-Temporary Art Project (2018, MR), Practice (2018, NY), Museum of Contemporary Art Vijdovina (2018, SR), Art in Odd Places (2017), and PPOW (2017). Her writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Spot Magazine, Asia Contemporary Art Week, Photograph Magazine, Volume One/Triple Canopy, and the Dear Dave. Her recent featured interviews include Julie Mehretu, Dorothea Rockburne, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Tomas Vu, Okwui Okpokwasili, Allison Janae Hamilton, Sanford Biggers, Yto Barrada, Hans Haacke, Mark Dion, Aliza Nisenbaum, Jane Benson, and Kevin Beasley.

Kyoung Eun Kang is a New York-based artist born in South Korea. She received a BFA and MFA in painting from Hong-ik University in Seoul, South Korea, and an MFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, NY. Kang works in a wide range of media, including live performance, video, painting, photography, installation, text, and sound pieces. She explores geographical and cultural identities, as well as universal human themes such as affection and attachment, to raise questions about how we foster and maintain relationships in an ever-changing world. Kang's work has been exhibited internationally and across the United States in numerous galleries and museums, including A.I.R. Gallery, Collar Works, NurtureArt, BRIC Project Room, Soho 20 Project Room, Here Arts Center, and the ISCP project space in New York; the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.; the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery in Australia; the Museum of the Imperial City in China; and the National Museum of Modern Art in Korea. She has also performed in multiple venues, including the Queens Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, Arario Gallery, FiveMyles, and Essex Flowers in New York; The Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas; and others. Kang has received residences and fellowships at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Marble House Project, the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, the I-Park Foundation, ChaNorth, BRIC Media Arts, the NARS Foundation, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the LES Studio Program, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Currently, she is a Ground Flood Resident at ISCP.

Kyunglim Lee creates artwork with corrugated cardboard. Having majored in oriental painting, her paintings are part 3D sculptures, made with resin on paper. Corrugated cardboard is an inevitable by-product of modern mass production and transportation systems. The cardboard, with winding symmetrical curves on its surface, stands for its necessary usage in today's commercial society as a reliable packaging medium. In her work, cardboard that has tacitly and murmurlessly finished its role as containers, protectors, and transporters of mass-produced goods symbolizes regeneration and a revival. She feels fairly limited when it comes to using colors as the sole medium of expressing textures. Instead, She cuts and forms soft and attractive cardboard into small pieces and attaches them before adding color and creating a sense of a sculpted paper form. Her work has been showcased in Seoul, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Miami, Seattle and Houston. She has participated in numerous art fairs, and exhibitions. She has a BFA in Oriental Painting from the College of Fine Arts of Seoul National University. She resides in Queens, New York, where She works as a full-time artist.

Jahyun Seo is a multimedia artist based in New York and Seoul. Seo pursued her studies in Textile and Fiber Arts in Paris at Ecole Superieure D’art Neufville Conte and later completed her Ph.D. in Textile Art at Hongik University in Seoul. Her interest in this field inspired her to research and write her dissertation A Theoretical Study on Multi-layered Plane Structure in Contemporary Art. Her work has been shown at the New York Public Library, New York (2023), Seoul Arts Center, Seoul (2020), La Mama Galleria, New York (2017), Kunst Stock Gallery, Germany (2003), Cheonju Arts Center, Seoul (2001) and Gana Art Space, Seoul (2001). New York Cast Iron, New York (1998), Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (1998) and others. Seo is a member of Pen and Brush Artists and she has received residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, NARS Foundation, and J&M Studio.

Bonam Kim is a sculptor based in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA and MFA degrees from Hong-ik University in Seoul, South Korea. In 2016, she completed her second MFA in sculpture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She was featured as an emerging artist from DongBangYoGae in Art in Culture magazine, published in Seoul, South Korea. She was also awarded the Stutzman Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship for her residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. She has completed a three-month residency at the NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, NY, and the Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY. She has exhibited work at A.I.R. Gallery, NARS Foundation, Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York, The Korean Cultural Center, Super Dutchess Gallery, and Denise Bibro Fine Art, among others.

Lu Zhang is a New York-based artist born in Xi’an, China. She creates intimate experiences that reenact memories and dream states; and investigates the transference of existing knowledge and cognitive experiences, to tell stories in the form of installations incorporating ceramics and video; she also works collaboratively in performances that engage the public in explorations about the relativity and ambiguity of relationships. Lu’s recent film A Girl Sings Along Without Knowing the Words, an experimental documentary film essay, was screened at Royal Queen dim sum restaurant in Flushing, Queens, New York. Lu received her MFA in Fine Arts and MS in Art History from Pratt Institute and she holds a BA degree in Economics from Xi’an JiaoTong University. Lu’s Recent exhibitions include public space in Flushing, New York, Yve Yang Gallery, Art Lot Brooklyn, Pearl River Mart, Yeh Art Gallery, Underdonk, Latitude Gallery, The Clemente Soto Vélez, Present Company, Special Special, NARS Foundation, Museum of Chinese in America, A.I.R Gallery, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Korean Culture Center, Xi’an Academy of Fine Art. Lu has given artist talks, lectures, and public programs nationally and internationally.

Chang Sujung lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Chang was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the US in 2014. She received her MFA from Hunter College in 2017 and BFA from Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea, in 2013. Her recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Detour: cul-de-sac, International Waters, New York (2022), 88.61 lbs, Hesse Flatow, New York (2020), and Beginningless Sky, Endless Ground, Jungganjijeom, Seoul (2019). Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions including 56 Henry, New York, International Objects, New York, Helena Anrather, New York, Yeh Art Gallery, St. Johns University, New York, The Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase College, New York, Galerie Christine Mayer, Munich, Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, New York, Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul, and others. She has participated in residencies at Carving Studio and Sculpture Center, Vermont (2022), BRIClab: Bridge Space, New York (2021-2022), Hercules Art Studio Program, New York (2018-2021), the Wassaic Artist Residency, New York (2017) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2017).

Seung-Min Lee: Every project I begin starts with thoroughly trying to find the sources of a feeling of alienation I experience in my daily, mundane experience of being in the world. Rage, disappointment, resignation, submission: these are the internal phase changes that alert me to a rift in my acclimatization to the “best-fit” diagram of a world that assumes a white body as its subject/customer/end-user. Having this “double consciousness” is how we cope, but it is not how we heal. In my work, it is my habit, in these instances, to try to inhabit this Other, white, space fully until I can almost empathize with the oppressor, to hold inside my body the monstrous and allow myself to be fully consumed by its seductive power; and by allowing my body to be vulnerable and open to this possession in public space, I seek to create a meaningful tension that can disrupt the supposedly natural order of things. By targeting the materials of everyday life, e.g. the news, food, consumer goods, celebrity, and pop culture, I attempt to defamiliarize the viewer with their assumptions of the distribution of power and meaning, so that they in turn seek to challenge the same.