Yoonmi Nam (Korean, b. 1974)
Digital print on wallpaper
Yoonmi Nam’s Toile takes the form of ivory-colored wallpaper showing dilapidated structures rendered with red lines. The wallpaper covers three walls of a long rectangular room, the School of Business’ Business Communication Center, and can be seen from the outside of Capitol Federal Hall through a floor-to-ceiling glass wall on the north side. The repeating design motif of the wallpaper consists of a zig-zagging pattern of four different images: a flooded house and three other buildings that are either abandoned or under construction or renovation. The disconnected images of the work convey a dreamlike sense of deconstruction, reconstruction, and the transitory. Nam, a Lawrence-based artist and KU visual art professor, took these images from the scenery of the East Lawrence neighborhood she inhabits, and through which she travels daily, documenting physical change over time. Inspired by traditional 18th-century toile with repeating patterns of pastoral scenery, Nam borrows the historic red color for her images of our 21st- century townscape to present a contemporary version of toile that reflects her surroundings and interests in the temporary and the ephemeral. The pattern of Nam’s Toile has taken multiple forms including lithographic prints and printed fabrics, in addition to wallpaper. Toile evokes not only nostalgia for the traditional landscapes of toile and its colors and repeated patterns but also her personal interpretation of urban Lawrence today.
Yoonmi Nam was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She received a BFA degree in printmaking from Hong-Ik University in Seoul (1997) and MFA in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, 2000). Nam has had numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally, in Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Korea, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden, Paraguay and the United States. Her works are in the collections of the RISD Museum; Spencer Museum of Art; and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, among others. She teaches at the University of Kansas where she has been a faculty member since 2001.
— Gahee In, MA student in art history at the University of Kansas, April 2019