Kira Nam Greene's paintings, drawings and custom wallpaper incorporate foodstuffs and patterns, which are transnational in origin. Appropriating from both Western and Eastern sources, the artist refers, in part, to her position as a Korean immigrant woman in America. Making use of victuals for their relationship to the body, Greene depicts fleshy bowls of kimchi, gelatinous mounds of jello and luscious, ripe cherries. The food, both in harmony and discordance with its surroundings, becomes a surrogate for the desire to consume and/or to control.
Using a range of materials (watercolor, colored pencil, gouache, acrylic ink and rhinestones) for the largest panel painting, Peanut Butter, Saba and Ketchup, Greene creates a tableaux which is marked by spatial tension. This work deals with dualities both social and spatial: the masculine and the feminine; luxury goods and utilitarian items; positive and negative space and foreground and background. In this one piece the artist utilizes modified patterns related to ancient Japanese Noh prints, a contemporary Ikea table runner, a Tibetan prayer rug, Chinese silk brocade and Persian and Italian tiles. Upon this setting prepackaged foods, delicate fruits, feathery peasants and fish heads allude to present day consumer culture and to 17th century Dutch vanitas painting and thus to our own mortality.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Kira Nam Greene lives and works in New York. She received her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She had her first solo exhibition in New York in 2010 through A.I.R. Gallery’s Fellowship Program. In 2011 she participated in Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) at Bronx Museum of Art. She has exhibited at the Noyes Museum of Art, NJ; the Sheldon Museum of Art, NE; The Bronx Museum of Art, NY; the Nathan Cummings Foundation, NY; Beard & Weil Galleries, Wheaton College, MA; Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, NY; and SOMArts Cultural Center, CA among other venues.