Recent Alumna Annette Hur '19 in Solo Exhibit at Columbia's Wallach Gallery

BY Audrey Deng, April 29, 2020

Paintings by recent alumna Annette Hur ’19 are on display in Columbia University’s Café Nous, located in Philosophy Hall. This solo exhibit was curated by Jennifer Mock, who is the Associate Director of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Gallery.

The two paintings in the solo exhibit are titled Slower Time and Mimicry. The Wallach Art Gallery, which organizes these on-campus exhibitions, writes that, “By working with abstraction through large scale oil paintings and Korean silk textiles, Hur explores the universality of gendered ideologies that subconsciously manipulates and subverts socio-sexual identities and how societal projections are embedded in our body and mind.”

“For many years, I suppressed my creative abilities in a culture where the feminine is subjugated to the masculine and the ‘role’ of the woman is to be servile,” Hur writes in the artist’s statement accompanying the exhibit. “Since I moved to the United States six years ago, I have created work that explores the universality of gendered ideologies across cultures, focusing on the racialized dimensions of the immigrant-female experience and how societal projections are embedded in our body, mind, and identities.”

The paintings are obscure in literal detail, but the subtext surrounding them makes for powerful reading: “Each painting holds its own subtext of unjustified guilt, and self-doubt pertaining to female sexuality. This narrative probes ideas of objecthood of the female individual taking in its stride inner confidence to destroy this false nature and leap into the unknown.”

In Hur’s paintings, heavily abstracted bodies, painted wound-like, create a tense atmosphere between the physical body and the everyday violence around it. “As a result,” writes Hur, “although the entire image is rooted in abstraction, hints of fingers, breasts, genitals, wounds, and acts of vomiting or penetration create narratives of unsafe bodily experiences.”

Hur’s bio on the New American Paintings website reads: “I create work from the perspective of a first-generation Asian minority and a female living in a foreign environment who struggles daily with the decision to assimilate or stand alone. Forced femininity has shaped my mind and body, gestures and expressions, language and behavior, and more. My paintings use the dualism of the human body to investigate these perspectives.”

Hur graduated from the School of Arts Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 2015, and received her BA from Ewha Womans University.

The exhibit runs until June, but due to COVID-19-related campus closures, it can be viewed online.

Annette Hur. Slower Time, 2019. Oil on canvas; 80 x 68 in. Courtesty the artist and CRUSHCURATORIAL.