For Immediate Release
November 2018

Younghee Choi Martin

Recent Paintings

October 30 – November 24, 2018

Reception: Thursday, November 1, 6-8 pm

The Bowery Gallery presents large, painterly, narrative compositions by Younghee Choi Martin: a modern take on Aeschylus’s Oresteia Trilogy. Through a massive play of shape and color, these highly worked surfaces address both the density and the fresh, lyric expressiveness of the ancient dramas to reveal a contemporary vision.

There is a reductive, modernist integration of the figurative and landscape elements in these works. The specific scenes are generalized to the point of abstraction and then pulled firmly back into the grand Poussineque tradition (from Reuben’s Flemish landscapes, to Cezanne’s Bathers, with a serious nod to Eilshemius). Through the continual development of the paint, the surface, the composition, and the texture, the narrative is never lost. It breathes through the layers to slowly release a pictorial structure and a lyric dimension.

In “Orestes as Wanderer” (48" x 72"), the weather, the light at the time of day and year, and the landscape forms are painterly manifestations of the energy of the conflicting sanctions of the gods which propel Orestes onwards to his act of revenge. The paint itself drives the narrative which, as in the Aeschylus’s works, finds its tragic force in the no-win situation for the protagonist and in the imposition of the wills of the Gods over humanity that both deforms and uplifts. It is that simultaneity that Martin’s painting captures at the edge of abstraction and representation.

In “Orestes at the Tomb of Agamemnon” (48" x 36"), Martin starts from the pictorial convention of showing this scene as a poetic embodiment of the contemplation of grief as a state of being and she upends it, contemporizes it, through the independent movement of paint across the surface to express the discontinuity we all feel, the nostalgia we now have for being able to experience loss and grief in its fullest expression while living in our world of now; of relentless change, speed, and energy.

Since the late 1970’s, Younghee Choi Martin has lived and worked in Chelsea, where she was one of the earliest artists to establish a painting studio. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she has been awarded painting fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NY CAPS program. Her works have been exhibited in New York and throughout the United States, Korea, Japan, France, and Italy. Over 80 of her paintings and drawings are in collections and museums in the United States, Korea, Japan, and India.

View of works in the exhibition here.

Gallery hours are 11am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the gallery at 646-230-6655 or