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Opening Reception: Thursday, March 23, 6–8 pm


Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Areum Yang. Embedding vivid, introspective symbols within surreal landscapes, she creates expressive compositions that chronicle her personal journey of reconciliation with the unknown.

Born and raised in Korea and currently residing in the United States, Yang has experienced a sense of in-betweenness, oscillating between different cultures, customs, and surroundings. Living in a foreign environment has conjured a self-contained landscape, a space between homes, not unlike a dreamscape. At the same time, navigating new terrain during a time of uncertainty has fostered the instinctive desire to belong. She strives to convey her experiences without pinpointing, resulting in ambiguity and vagueness within her compositions. They consequently function as both representations of her inner-life and more universal storytelling.

Yang’s automatic and unconscious responses to her surroundings result in an intuitive visual language. Architectural structures function as self-portraits, metaphors for a secure, grounded character. The branches of trees transform into anthropomorphized figures, locked in a mutual gaze, but each possessing a unique perspective. For Yang, this interchangeability of human and non-human symbolizes the resilience required to endure environmental upheaval.


Yang depicts these subjects in a manner which captures her emotional state, by combining both wet and dry materials. Figures coarsely rendered in pencil or charcoal inhabit vibrant backgrounds imbued with colorful, improvisational mark-making. At moments, the boundaries are blurred, and subject and atmosphere become one.

Areum Yang (b. 1994 Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in New York) graduated from Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea in 2017 and from the Hunter MFA program, New York, NY in 2021. She recently undertook residency at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has been included in group shows at Analog Diary, Beacon, NY, Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY, Margot Samel, New York, NY, and Mamoth, London, UK. Yang was selected as the winner of the Silver Award for AHL T&W Foundation Contemporary Visual Art Awards and the KCC Young Artist Awards in 2021. Her work has been selected for print publication in Art Maze Magazine edition 23, Friend of Artists volume 15, and Whitewaller issue 33. This will be her second exhibition with the gallery.