Opposing Materiality | Ilhwa Kim, Aiko Tezuka, and Nadia Yaron

15 December 2023 - 31 January 2024

Maybaum Gallery is pleased to present a three person show with international and national artists Ilhwa Kim, Aiko Tezuka and Nadia Yaron. Opposing Materiality is a tightly curated group show bringing together three artists whose work is driven by philosophical inquiries around the material nature of the physical world. In Ilhwa Kim’s work, the artist explores the possibilities of intricacy, while Aiko Tezuka uses material surfaces as a metaphor for discovery and Nadia Yaron translates emotional reactions to nature into her sculptures. Opposing Materiality will open on December 15, 2023 and run through January 30, 2024.

South Korean artist Ilhwa Kim makes intricate compositions made of tens of thousands of rolled, hand-dyed mulberry paper pieces. Using Hanji paper in greens, blues, pinks and yellow, she binds the paper into small rectangular forms. The artist calls the individual rolls “seeds” and considers them microcosms within her larger cosmographies. Pushing back on the distinction between sculpture and painting, Kim creates compositions that hang together from a distance while pulling the viewer into an intricate topographical surface texture. These seeds are lodged tightly on the surface, pushing and pulling, creating tensions and stories beyond what a viewer might see at first glance. Kim’s work recalls the intricate ecosystems of coral reefs or kelp forests from aerial perspectives or the enigmatic stills of microfauna seen under a microscope. Referring to the pieces as “living architecture” the artist captures subtle movement in her work, scenes that convey breath, breeze, and sway. “I create artworks that combine sculpture and painting in order to explore the richness, dynamism, and depth of sensory experience on canvas,” says Kim. “These layered, entangled, and ever-evolving sensory experiences, happening in a world defined by nature’s infinite possibilities, are what I strive to capture in my works.”

The philosophy of deconstruction and reconstruction lie at the center of Berlin-based Japanese artist Aiko Tezuka’s dizzyingly intricate textile works. Since the beginning of her art practice Tezuka has been interested in the surface of objects. What makes up the surface of the object? What is behind the surface? Can the surface be pulled back? Although we inhabit a surface world, it’s a material limit that we often take for granted. Every time we peel a surface, a new surface will appear immediately–an infinite loop, rendering the surface unreachable and invisible. The artist’s central inquiry probes the very fabric of existence, questioning how to peel away layers and render the invisible visible. For Tezuka, time is the clandestine force residing just beyond these immutable surfaces. With the meticulous unraveling of textile surfaces into myriad threads, the artist reverses time and in the process, demystifies her unspooled surfaces. Uncharted rainbows of color spill from tightly wound compositions. These undone tapestries become an exploration of what lies beneath, a reflection on the threads that bind past, present, and future.

Hudson based sculptor Nadia Yaron creates works inspired by the natural world from wood, stone and metal. Working in upstate New York in a studio surrounded by nature, Yaron’s sculptures are inspired from the substance of her everyday life–walks with her family, deep observations of nature and the land she lives on. The resulting works are bold, weighty shapes in variations of balance. Yaron is thinking about rendering the impermanence of nature into the most permanent materials we have. Constructed in calm, monochromatic color palettes of browns, creams, taupes, and grays, these are organic shapes boiled down to their most reductive yet evocative state. Clouds might teeter upon a mountain, which sits on rock–a visual haiku to provoke the senses. She states: “A fallen leaf, a cloud, the first spring flower, the wind in the tree. It’s human nature to try to grasp onto things and hope and wish for them to live forever. I think in some way I am attempting to catch these moments and freeze them in time with more solid heavy materials like wood and stone: it’s an attempt to hold on to that which I can’t.” 


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