Jiha Moon’s playfully layered images—now on view at SCAD’s Gallery 1600, in an exhibition titled All Kinds of Everything—seem to approach you in waves, radiating out from her weird, arranged collisions between pop culture and tradition [June 10-July 26, 2013]. It might be Maniko-neko, the good luck cat from Japanese folklore, gazing out at you from underneath daubs of electric color in a Jiha Moon painting, or that might just as easily be Hello, Kitty! giving you her typically blank but hauntingly expectant look. You can encounter a demure maiden cut from the print of some antique Korean silk scarf, but then again that might just as easily be the Starbucks mermaid or a Disney princess. Moon engages and grapples with identity, but somehow smartly eases away from that territory’s more anxious or overtly political aspects. Though Moon evokes the clutter of a culturally divided consciousness, it’s evident that color and movement most fascinate this artist. To see her work is to dive into the joyful, jazzy tactility of paint as it squishes, smears, and wiggles across a busy flotsam-field of found images and materials. One gets the lovely sense of a funny and fragmented ‘outsider’ opening herself up, winning the game, and becoming indivisibly whole.
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