Kira Nam Greene

Kira Nam Greene

“My paintings and drawings are self-portraits with painted collages of food and complex patterns that represent the plurality and the multiplicity of my identity. I paint estheticized food found in glossy coffee table cookbooks and magazines as well as everyday food that I serve for my friends and family. The patterns are derived from historical fabrics used in women’s fashion and domestic interiors, which are symbolic of the roles that women have had in various cultures. The patterns from both eastern and western cultures are the background that enhances and suffocates the food. The food is the body and the surrogate for the desire to consume and control women. The resulting images are self-portraits that represent the plurality and multiplicity of my identity as an Asian-American immigrant woman. Densely packed and precisely hand-painted patterns simultaneously create and interrupt the space where the still life is presented. The rhythm of the patterns is echoed in the composition of the still life and natural patterns found in the food. A complicated interweaving of foreground and background, created by patterns, icons, and still lifes painted in many different styles and mediums, generates confounding spatial ebb and flow and increase the spatial tension. The surface of my painting is varied to create the maximum complexity and to enhance the sensuality of the paint while the divergence of styles imbues the image with collage-like dissonance. The result is a work that attracts viewers with overwhelming sensuality and the beauty while simultaneously disorients and repels them. While the images of the food are reminiscent of the Dutch still-life tradition, the divergent styles, collage-like dissonance and the breaking of the picture planes acknowledge the practice of painting in a post-modern era. At the same time, through a labor-intensive process, I cast a critical eye on the mechanical reproduction and proliferation of imagery in our daily lives. This exhibition, titled Nebraska Suite is a further exploration my interest in politics of food from the feminist perspective, and a culmination of my residency at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE in 2014. In this series, I explored the seemingly incongruous juxtaposition of bountiful and beautiful organic produce abundant in Omaha Farmer’s Market and hyper-processed convenience food produced by food giant ConAgra, headquartered also in Omaha with a sense of humor and visual puns.”

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