In Korean-born Sang-Ah Choi’s densely populated, candy-colored paintings and installation works, a dark world of anime-influenced imagery meets contemporary consumer culture. She morphs images from her heritage into American icons: the deer—a Korean symbol for long life—becomes Bambi; the curved shapes of rocky outcroppings in Joseon dynasty paintings are mimicked by McDonald’s golden arches. Choi employs repeated imagery, saccharine color schemes, and graphic wallpaper-like patterns to seduce the viewer into a world that examines America’s rampant consumerism.
Choi creates an environment for the Portland Art Museum’s APEX where brightly painted gallery walls act as a stage setting for her paintings and an intricately wrought paper pop-up diorama. The diorama chronicles a cross-country road trip taken by the artist en route to Oregon which inspired this exhibition’s theme: “All you can eat; you have no choice.” The installation gives viewers a charming yet often startlingly critical look at life in the artist’s adopted country.
Sang-Ah Choi at Portland Art Museum (Dec 22, 2012-March 31, 2013)