Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition with Brooklyn -based artist Anna Park. This is Park’s second presentation with the gallery.
Anna Park is from South Korea but spent her formative years in the US state of Utah—an experience that often positioned her on the outside, looking in. This early lesson in seeing permeates Park’s compositions today. Teetering on the brink between abstraction and figuration, Park’s charcoal drawings examine the human condition from a voyeur’s distance, magnified through recurrent archetypes, tropes of Americana, and the performativity of social interaction.
Working initially from a sketch, Park develops and unpacks imaginary scenes with the support of her extensive personal image archive, mostly stock images sourced from the internet. These scenes often begin as universally recognizable moments or symbols that the artist then complicates with the introduction of additional layers of imagery that reveal and conceal. What unfolds are restless visions of smeared faces, wrestling limbs, ruched fabrics, and speed streaks—works that recall the vigorous energy of the graphic novel and the radical fragmentation of Cubism.
In the large-scale multi-panel drawing Mind Over Matter (2021), Park conjures the Western genre in a grand narration of her subject’s act of falling. The cowboy is in passive free fall, the unseating of a symbol of nativist America and the myth of masculinity caught in freezeframe. The violence and shock from sudden impact reverberate through the composition with smudged charcoal strokes. In Hello, Stranger (2021), the artist casts a woman peering towards her viewer as she curls her hair, engaged in the ritual of preparing for a social event. The figure is surrounded by a flurry of shapes and gestures, swaths of swirling chaos that seem to originate from the subject’s own head and body, visualizations of anxiety and insecurity run rampant. We catch the subject in mid-transformation as she exchanges one persona for the next. Park’s portrayals are social commentaries on the contemporary experience, depictions of the world as a stage and the self-aware performances that occupy it.
Anna Park (b. 1996, Daegu, South Korea) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in the group exhibitions 100 Drawings from Now, The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2020); Art on the Grid, Public Art Fund, New York, NY; Drawn Together Again, Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY (2019); among others. She received her BA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and her MFA from New York Academy of Art, New York, NY. She is the First Prize Winner of the AXA Art Prize (2019) and the Grand Prize Winner of Strokes of Genius 11: Finding Beauty (2019).