In her just-opened Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia exhibit “Foreign Love,” South Korean-born Atlanta artist Jiha Moon continues mixing multiple cultural references while exploring the notion of shifting identities.
The one-woman show, created as part of MOCA GA’s Working Artist Project, finds Moon stretching her own boundaries by mixing media. In addition to her usual brightly hued paintings on paper, she created ceramic sculpture and norigae, a traditional Korean clothing accessory.
We spoke to the 40-year-old artist, who came to the U.S. in 1999 to study at the University of Iowa, about the challenge that followed winning one of three yearly Working Artist Project opportunities. It provided her with a stipend and studio assistant for a year to prepare for a show meant to command MOCA GA’s expansive main gallery in Buckhead.
On creating work that reflects what she calls a “transitory state of being”: “That’s never going to change. I think that’s the state of my mind, feeling a little bit insecure. That feeling is so strange, because when I go back to Korea to visit my Korean family, I feel like I’m not all that comfortable there, this isn’t my home — my home is the United States now. But when I come back here, I think of Korea. It’s shifting all the time.”
On trying to learn ceramics for “Foreign Love”: “When I got the grant I wanted to do something I’ve always wanted to do but I didn’t have budget or skill for. I started learning ceramic sculpture last September at Mudfire (the Decatur clay studio), and I had an assistant there, Lindsey Elsey, who is an expert at throwing. At first you don’t know so much about it, and you’re very brave. But as you learn, you become more humble because your stuff is so bad.
But my goal is not throwing a beautiful vase like a potter. So my assistant helped me out, by throwing, and then I kind of worked on it and made it abstract and added my drawing and painting on the surface. I played a lot with the glazing. … I’m a painter, and the way I approached making sculpture is from a painter’s point of view.”
On a challenge of raising Oliver, her young son with her American-born husband, artist-designer Andy Moon Wilson: “My boy was born in Atlanta, and he definitely has a Southern accent. He’s hilarious. He’s absolutely an Atlanta person, a Southern boy. He’s only 5 and corrects my English. And I’ve lived in this country for more than 10 years and I’m not any better than my son!”
“Foreign Love” continues through Nov. 2. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. $5; $1 students with ID and seniors 65 and up; free 6 and under. 75 Bennett St. in the TULA Art Center, Atlanta. 404-367-8700, www.mocaga.org.
Bard, new work on tap at Emory
Theater Emory’s just-announced 2013-14 season mixes classics and new works exploring identity and the cosmos, among other things, and will include artist residencies, informal artist laboratories and first-time collaborations with other Emory faculty and departments. Highlights include:
- Sept. 26-Oct. 6: “I am not that I Play (Gender and Disguise),” adapted and directed by Tim McDonough, chair of theater studies. The production explores five of Shakespeare’s plays in which heroines disguise themselves as young men. Theater Lab, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta.
- Nov. 14-24: “Macbeth,” a “re-imagining” of Shakespeare’s tragedy directed by Clinton Wade Thornton. Mary Gray Munroe Theater, Dobbs University Center, 605 Asbury Circle N.E., Atlanta.
- Jan. 28-Feb. 16, 2014: The “Brave New Works” festival of new play readings and workshops, bringing playwrights, adaptors, composers and dramaturgs to Emory to work on plays in development (titles TBA) with a combined company of student and professional actors. Theater Lab, Schwartz Center.
- April 3-13, 2014: “Free/Fall: Explorations of Inner and Outer Space,” directed by Theater Emory artistic director Janice Akers and created in collaboration with choreographers George Staib and Lori Teague and composer Kendall Simpson of the Emory Dance Program. Mary Gray Munroe Theater, Dobbs University Center
Details: 404-727-5050, www.arts.emory.edu.
A Spanish take on comedy of marriage
Keyed to the upcoming Mexican Independence Day, Aurora Theatre’s Spanish-language theater Teatro del Sol will present comedian Fernando Arau in a performance of his tour show “Marriage: A History of Science and Friction” at 8 p.m. Sept. 13.
The former host of Univision’s “Despierta America,” Arau is something of an expert on the topic, having been married three times to the same woman. Presented in Spanish, his show has been billed as “everything you didn’t want to know about marriage but wanted to ask.”
Tickets: $40 (VIP package, $65). 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, www.auroratheatre.com.
Glo, Living Walls team up on tour
In a marriage of visual art and dance, public art powerhouse Living Walls and Glo, Atlanta’s boundary-pushing dance company, will begin a six-week tour later this month bringing their work to public spaces around the state.
“The Traveling Show,” a mix of public mural projects, dance performances, lectures and even potluck dinners, will make appearances in Dalton (Sept. 25-28), Athens (Oct. 4-5), Rabun County (Oct. 16-19), LaGrange (Oct. 23) and Gainesville (Oct. 24-25).
The tour will conclude in Atlanta, Nov. 8 to 10, with a “Grand Exhibition,” a series of public events spotlighting the cities visited on the tour.
-- ROSALIND BENTLEY