STEMS gallery is pleased to present Sprout, a group exhibition of paintings by Yuan Fang, Yurie Hayashi, Baoying Huang, Ji Woo Kim, Ellie Kayu Ng, Michelle Nguyen, and Zhong Tianyue, organized by Will Leung.
Sprout showcases the work of contemporary Asian women painters, who before now have never been exhibited in Europe. The exhibition journeys across styles, from the color field paintings of Zhong Tianyue, to the pirouetting lines of abstract painter Yuan Fang, to explorations of realism. In Ellie Kayu Ng’s paintings, immigrant experience in the United States is documented through dramatic portraits, enhanced by reflections and bold outfits. Ji Woo Kim’s work is a kindred exploration of identity, but where Ng explores power in longing and isolation, Kim’s works often chronicle family belonging. For Baoying Huang, figures are removed for still lives and glistening surfaces, veiled with meaning. In Yurie Hayashi’s work, innovative diptychs combine text, interiors, body parts, and other curiosities in strange combinations, pitched against patterned wallpaper; reminiscent of Surrealism, Hayashi’s presents an interior portraiture of the psyche which converses with the outward experiences of self featured in Sprout. Finally, Michelle Nguyen’s rippling lines and dark backgrounds contain figures of mythic sensibilities, merging visual idioms of ‘East’ and ‘West’ and dissolving them in the process.
Sprout is a presentation informed by experience, not only identification—all of these painters have begun to make their mark away from their place of birth. Alongside one another, their work speaks to the complexities of belonging and diasporic experience, as well as the generative qualities of such an encounter. Sprout is about what is growing: an irrepressible creativity that takes root in new places, determined to thrive, no matter what.
Yuang Fang (b. 1996, Shenzhen, China) is a painter who lives and works in New York City. Yurie Hayashi (b. 1991, Gifu, Japan) is a painter based in Saratoga Springs, New York. Baoying Huang (b.1997, Shenzhen, China) is a painter based in New York City. Ji Woo Kim (b.1996, Suwon, South Korea) is a painter based in New York City. Ellie Kayu Ng (b.1998, Hong Kong) is a painter who lives and works in New York City. Michelle Nugyen (b. 1993, Toronto, Canada) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, Canada. Zhong Tianyue (b. 1994, Chengdu, China) is an artist based in San Francisco, California.
Will Leung is a gallerist based in New York City, a founder of Long Story Short, which has locations in New York City, Los Angeles, and Paris. He’s also a co-founder of ATM Gallery in New York City.