Mitchell-Innes & Nash open their first solo exhibition with Yirui Jia
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Mitchell-Innes & Nash open their first solo exhibition with Yirui Jia
Yirui Jia, Installation view of Seasonist at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, 2024.

NEW YORK, NY.- Mitchell-Innes & Nash is presenting their first solo exhibition with Yirui Jia on view from March 14 to April 20, 2024. Featuring ten new paintings and one sculpture, the show introduces prominent themes from the artist’s surreal world through two new series: Bouquet Body and Emotional Flowers. Seasonist explores physical and psychological presence, change and impermanence through natural phenomena.

Jia creates a new ensemble of fictionalized figures as they emerge from invented scenes surrounded by everyday objects, elements from nature and the changing of seasons. For the artist, each character represents a various range of emotions and tells a story of their individuality. Her iconic bride with an eyepatch conveys anger, desire and happiness seen either alone as an empowering female or blended into a group to show her sense of belonging. Whereas Jia’s astronaut depicts the unconquered territories and unknowable feelings we face in a futuristic world, her skeleton becomes a character of great vulnerability identifying with a distant past.

A Bouquet Body painting, stand shall I, shall I illustrates an astronaut and a bride standing side- by-side among a calamitous whirlwind. On the bride’s dress, log cabins and haystacks swirl around the hem while her bust is stuffed with dried leaves, recalling the summer tornados and autumn winds. Flames and roses grow from the astronaut’s body, evoking the rebirth of spring. Each figure seeks to find harmony within nature and themselves.

In Yellow is the color of their eyes, a skeleton stands in an upside-down field of blooming sunflowers while the word “mama” seems innocently written into a snow flurry. The infinity loop acts as a disruptive force of tension like a hovering UFO. It’s a deeply personal recollection of a photograph from Jia’s childhood of her own anxious face, indicating the yearning for her home and family.

Jia’s sculpture, Yooray-256 is made up of found objects which function like a canvas with added dimension. Painted red roses encompass the astronaut in the image and artificial green roses materialize at the end of the antenna, displaying their dual uses within Jia’s practice.

Within Jia’s work resides a cast of characters—many of whom are derived from popular culture and cartoon influences to anthropomorphic objects and animals. Each character has their own complex identity within the childlike worlds in which they are portrayed, empowered by the reinvention of the ordinary. Jia embraces the idea of her paintings serving as visualized narratives to the sculptures and vice-versa. The first of her family to become an artist, Jia is inspired by daily life—the personal and shared experiences, “the undifferentiated universality of objects,” and, perhaps most importantly, the humor of it all.

Yirui Jia (b. 1997, Binzhou, Shandong, China) moved to the United States in 2015, where she subsequently received her BFA from Gettysburg College, PA and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY. Her work has been featured in previous solo and group exhibitions at Kiang Malingue, Hong Kong; PM/AM Gallery, London; COMA, Sydney; Bill Brady Gallery, Los Angeles; Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing; LKIF Gallery, Seoul; TUBE Culture Hall, Milan; LATITUDE Gallery, New York; WerkStadt, Berlin; and Hive Art Center, Beijing. Yirui currently lives and works in New York.

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