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Chie Yoshii’s Lush Paintings Bring Mythical Archetypes to Life

Chie Yoshii’s Lush Paintings Bring Mythical Archetypes to Life

All images courtesy of Chie Yoshii and Corey Helford Gallery
All images courtesy of Chie Yoshii and Corey Helford Gallery

At first glance, the women in Chie Yoshii’s latest series, Myth, resemble classical goddesses. Their soft, airbrushed features recall Botticelli’s blushing Venus emerging from the sea on a pink shell. Look closer and you’ll spot saturated colors and symbols that bring Yoshii’s work into the modern era. Opening virtually November 14 at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery, Yoshii’s Myth invites us to take a second look at the stories we tell.

The artist's work delves into the relationship between human psychology and mythical archetypes. The spirit of pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung haunts her lush, symbol-laden paintings. Jung, who wrote Man and His Symbols, theorized that myths across cultures are universal in their symbolism. In her painting “Trickster,” Yoshii channels a mischievous character that pops up in countless places, from Norway’s Loki to Looney Tunes’ Wile E. Coyote. She notes that these mythical beings often arise from events we struggle to explain. “The puzzling feeling we experience when we are faced with tricky questions gives birth to the mythical trickster character.”

Her other works follow a similar pattern, tapping into our enduring fears and fantasies. She notes:

“Myth is not about reality but the fantasies aroused by its effects. They are viscerally conceived and more tangible than reality. I have always been interested in what is common in human psychology: patterns, tendencies, and archetypes. Mythological themes inspire me because a myth that stands the test of time shows us a collective psyche that is common among us all. For this show, I created a world with these mythical motifs that make me feel connected, beyond time, culture, and space."

Myth runs November 14 through January 9, 2021 at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. Please note the physical gallery is closed due to a state-wide COVID-19 mandate. The show is available for viewing online starting November 14.

For more information, please visit the gallery.

All images courtesy of Chie Yoshii and Corey Helford Gallery
All images courtesy of Chie Yoshii and Corey Helford Gallery
All images courtesy of Chie Yoshii and Corey Helford Gallery

Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s editor in chief. Morgan is an arts writer from the Midwest who enjoys saying “excuse me” when no actual pardon is needed. She specializes in grant writing and narrative-based storytelling for mission-driven artists and arts organizations. With a background in printmaking, pop culture, and classic literature, Morgan believes a girl’s best friend is the pile of books on her bedside table.

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