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New Studio Practice: Fine Arts professor featured in Michigan sculpture installation

Filigreed silver structures with a dark mountainous painting in the background

Jason S. Yi, installation view from the solo exhibition “Dissimulations” at Arts + Literature Lab, Madison, Wisconsin, 2021

Jason S. Yi, Professor of Art in New Studio Practice: Fine Arts at MIAD, recently installed his exhibit “Dissimulations” in the Dennos Museum in Traverse City, Michigan. The sculpture installation, which is on display until December 23, 2022, explores how our “cultural history and personal experiences” influence our perception of the environment and landscape. Jess Lensmire (NSP: Fine Arts ’25) and Margaret Griffin (NSP: Fine Arts ’23), Yi’s studio assistants, were integral to the installation process. 

Yi, an interdisciplinary artist who focuses on photography, video, sculpture, drawing, and site-specific installations, was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States as a child. His artistic practice explores “abstracting landscapes and environments and creating a discourse on current cultural, political, social, and ecological conditions” through a bi-cultural lens. An award-winning artist, Yi’s work is featured in the permanent collections of museums from Milwaukee to New York and is exhibited nationally and internationally. 

“Dissimulations” references a Korean peninsula environment, although with an eye to universal notions of what landscape and environment mean for people. Using “materials that are seemingly humble in its origins, such as foam, plaster and… hardware store materials,” Yi and his studio assistants construct an immersive landscape that creates a seemingly fantastical visual experience. “I love the ideas of contradiction… in perception of the work and perception of the materials that are being used to create these forms,” he says during a video walkthrough of the exhibition.

Jason S. Yi

In addition to his installation success, Yi recently received a Mary L. Nohl Fellowship in the Established Artist category. As part of the two year fellowship, he will participate in an exhibit opening in June 2023 at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Yi actively supports emerging and established artists working locally, nationally and internationally. He is the gallery director of Hawthorn Contemporary, an experimental and exploratory art venue, and he manages the Plum Blossom Initiative alongside Leah Kolb, Curator of Exhibitions at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which provides emerging Milwaukee artists with professional development opportunities. 

As a professor, Yi is “always amazed by MIAD students. They are hardworking but, more importantly, generous and supportive of their peers. It is a pleasure for me to watch confidence grow and build a strong art community of their peers.” He offers encouragement to MIAD students and artists in the Milwaukee community: “Everything we make is a work in progress. Therefore embrace failure, be positive and persevere.”

Watch Yi, Lensmire and Griffin talk about the installation, keep up with Yi’s work and follow him on Instagram (@jason_s_yi). Learn more about the New Studio Practice: Fine Arts major.

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