Artist StatementMy art draws upon diverse spiritual practices that emphasize clearing the mind and directing attention into a heightened awareness of the present, and often the body. To convey those concepts, the artworks are a synthesis of hair sculpture, video, performance, and painting. Human hair, at once tactile and ephemeral, has become my visual nexus for the intersection between the physical and spiritual realms. As a material, hair is intimately corporeal and focuses the viewer’s attention on the body. As it grows, hair represents the accumulation of time. Since its physical properties make it last long after death, it is an especially appropriate symbol of remembrance. I use the hair sheared from my head, then transform the hair into wearable sculptures for my body. It comes back to my body with new symbolism, which represents invisible thoughts. In the videos, I let go of the sculptures, representing the departure of my thoughts from my body as a cleansing gesture through the meditative process. The videos become ritualistic meditation ceremonies. My head is shaved --as monks do--representing a detachment from materialist identity. I meditate with my back to the camera, embodying a detachment from gender, culture, and thought. The immersive quality of videos in conjunction with my androgynous appearance invites viewers to inhabit my body, and experience the process of clearing the mind. Also I make stand-alone (non-wearable) sculptures, which I sometimes use in video and performance, or collectively they become an immersive installation. I tie hair lengths together piece by piece. Weaving and knotting the hair by hand instead of using machinery creates unique, organic shapes both in the details and in the larger form. The weightless hair sculptures move from the airflow created by a viewer’s movements and from the environment. Those small movements in space, on an intricate scale, shift the awareness toward subtle perceptions that are often taken for granted. In my hair painting series, my hair appears submerged in acrylic in compositions of grids, geometric shapes and circles. I pared them down to the most reductive elements, to approach a simple space of perceiving structure fading away into the painted ether, representing thoughts dissolving, or surfacing between states of the conscious and unconscious mind.
Jayoung Yoon is a New York-based artist born in South Korea. Select exhibitions in the USA include Bronx Museum of the Arts, Here Arts Center, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, New Bedford Art Museum, Ohio Craft Museum, and Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Korea. She was awarded Ora Schneider Regional Residency Grant, the BRIC Media Arts fellowship, and the Franklin Furnace Fund. She has attended residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing space, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Sculpture Space, I-Park, and Vermont Studio Center, among others. Her art has been featured or reviewed in The New Yorker, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Poughkeepsie journal, Surface Design Journal, and Fiber Art Now. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, 2009 and her BFA from Hongik University in Seoul, Korea, 2004.