Mie Yim

Hi Leo,

I’m back. I hope you got my letter that I wrote to you last year about my show called “Sfumato”. I gave you credit since you invented, perfected and coined the term. Like your work, my paintings have soft edges where hard lines disappear, like a cloud of smoke. Poof!

I hope you don’t mind that for this show, I’m calling it “Gioconda” (Not La Gioconda, that’s too obvious!)  Sure, she is over exposed, maybe a cliche. I think she was even used in a music video. But she is the essence of enigma.  Is it presumptuous to think that my characters have that same mystery? LOL (don’t ask).

My background is as different from you as you can imagine. As a child growing up in Korea, I was weaned on Hello Kitty and other various cute dolls and fluffy animals. Then a sudden jolt of displacement to the U.S. caused a state of discombobulation. Life suddenly seemed hazy and dream like. Later, I folded my story into my work in an intuitive way. I do my usual build up of shapes and lines that gel into a metaphysical portrait of beings with pathos, anxiety and pugnacious hilarity. I layer soft edges, like cotton balls. I construct lines horizontal and vertical, like scaffolding or skeletons. I erase, scuff, glaze, lay on paint thick and thin. I use sugary saturated colors and linear forms that are derived from anthropomorphic parts that could conjure up bunny ears or  doe eyes. They have transpired into abstract depictions, using autobiographical sources and drawing on influences that occurred as I evolved in the Western world as an artist.

I think about going underneath the banal gaze and evocative puffs to find what lies beneath. Like when you used to go to the morgue and peel the flesh off cadavers to see the muscles while you were obsessively layering the paint to create the smile of Mona Lisa. I love that you took the time to paint her corset before you painted her clothing, even though you knew no one would see it. I paint over so many elements, but I know it’s all in there. The layers makes the surface twinkle and glow with whispering history.

Wish you could see the show.

Say hi to Caravaggio for me.

Ciao Ciao,


About the Artist

Yim has had a number of solo exhibitions including  Ground floor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY,  Lehmann Maupin, NY,  Michael Steinberg, NY, Gallery in Arco, Turin, Italy. Numerous group exhibitions include the  Drawing Center, Feature,  Ise Cultural Foundation,  Mitchell Algus Gallery BRIC art center Mark Borghi Gallery, all in New York.  Other places she has exhibited include, Johnson County Community College, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, The Arts Center at Western Conn. University. She is a recipient of  The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant 2018, The New York Foundation of the Arts Painting Fellowship 2015 and Artist in the Market Place, Bronx Museum.  She has a BFA in Painting from Philadelphia College of Art as well as a year abroad at Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy. Yim was born in S. Korea, she’s based in New York.

For more information about Mie, visit her website at and follow her on instagram @mieyim.

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