Jaye Rhee revels in the space between the ironic and the poignant with work that simultaneously incorporates video, photography, and performance. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Rhee graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, MFA). Her work has since been exhibited at various international venues, including Albright Knox Art Gallery, Norton Museum of Art, Queens Museum, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Kobe Biennale 2007, The Seoul Museum of Modern Art, DOOSAN Art Center (Seoul), Gyeonggi Museum of Art (South Korea), Leeum Samsung Museum (Seoul), the Centro para os Assuntos da Arte e Arquitectura (Portugal) and La Triennale di Milano (Milan). Rhee also participated in the Artists’ residencies of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Main 2009, Palais de Tokyo Workshop Program in Paris 2009, Changdong International Studio Program in Seoul 2008, Aljira Emerge Program at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art in New Jersey 2008, Artist in Market Place Program in Bronx Museum in 2005 and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space Program 2012. Among her awards are the Yonkang (DOOSAN) Art Award 2011, Franklin Furnace Fund 2010, SeMA Young Artist Grant from Seoul Museum of Art 2010, Arts Council Korea Grant for Cultural Exchange 2010 and 2009, and KoreaAmerica Foundation for the Arts Award 2008. In 2010, Spector Press released her monograph Imageless. This retrospective of her oeuvre charts the evolution of her work over a decade and is accompanied by essays that deal with Rhee’s approach to her art by Carol Becker, Raul Zamudio, Sara Reisman and Edwin Ramoran. Prior to its publication, her work had already been featured in Carol Becker’s essay “Intimate, Immediate, Spontaneous, Obvious: Educating the Unknowing Mind” in Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art (University of California Press). It has also been the subject of reviews in numerous periodicals, including ARTnews, The New York Times, Palm Beach daily, Artslant, Artlyst, Art in Culture and Art Asia Pacific Magazine. She lives and works in New York.
My work explores the evasive nature of authentic desire. By focusing on the tension between “real” desire and “fake” objects of desire, as embodied by images—in the broadest sense of the word—my work presents “real fakes” and “imageless images.” My work is thus concerned with making real fakes by forthrightly showing artifice without the concealment of ambiguity. This refusal to deny the actual substance of the materials with which I make art reveals the authenticity of these faked, imaginary worlds so that the product, as an artwork, is paradoxically a fake that, notwithstanding its artifice, is authentic and, thus genuine. My goal is to create a new visual space in which artifice evaporates through the very naked presentation of images as naked materials. This “honest artifice” would ultimately lead one into an experience of reflection about one’s own nostalgia. (July 2016)