VSF SEOUL

NEXT OF KIN
MAY 30 - AUGUST 8, 2020

Various Small Fires is pleased to present, Next of Kin, the exhibition debut of six American artists in Seoul, South Korea. In the unsettling ups and downs of the current COVID-19 crisis, VSF has taken the opportunity this summer to focus on a universal constant: family.
Pushing beyond its biological definition, the artists capture members of their families, chosen tribes, and imagined ancestors in intimate portraits that reflect an unprecedented era of shifting priorities with an insistence on intimacy and tenderness. Essentially under house arrest, Gina Beavers, Diedrick Brackens, Jessie Homer French, Chase Hall, Cindy Ji Hye Kim, and Calida Rawles contemplate the figures at the core of their social disruption.
In nuclear lovers, two figures (one being Brackens) affectionately sprawl across an abstracted textile matrix that was inspired by Brackens’ own bedding, hands reaching for one another in their longing for touch.
Inspired by makeup tutorials by Korean cosmetic YouTube star, Dain Yoon, Beavers’ newest painting of mascara-laden eyes, 16 Step Smoky Eye, unfolds as a portrait of desire and self-improvement in the digital age of self-isolation.
Rawles captures the dual perspective of her friend gliding across a kaleidoscopic body of water in her diptych painting, New Day Coming. Headless in an enchanting reverie of bubbles and ripples, the portrait is both calming and unnerving as the figure ventures into other prisms of the unknown. Rawles’ work questions the duplexity and possible danger in a world above and below the water’s surface.
A vintage car is piled high with friends in swimsuits and surfboards hanging out of the trunk – a beach scene by Hall, who has surfed along the California coast throughout his adolescence, depicts the joy and camaraderie of a favorite pastime. Yet as its title suggests, All my brothers go to heavens, the painting also underscores the underlying fear behind every African American outing in an increasingly violent and prejudiced modern day America.
A self-proclaimed “regional narrative painter,” avid fly fisher, and mother of three, French portrays a family tree of various fish with the unique life cycle of salmon at its center. Surviving between saltwater and freshwater, the salmon endeavor an upstream journey fraught with obstacles in order to lay their eggs before they die and the cycle continues. Genesis (Latin for “generation”) unfolds as an allegorical analogy for motherhood itself.
Twisting through a building scaffold, a common view outside one’s window in New York, Kim’s Character #18 embodies a visual metaphor of her mother tongue, the Korean language, as the figurative character’s limbs intersect like that of a Hangul “character” of layered consonants and vowels.
Next of Kin, 2020 (installation view)
Various Small Fires, Seoul, KR

Diedrick Brackens
nuclear lovers
, 2020
Cotton and acrylic yarn
78 x 72 in (198 x 183 cm)


Gina Beavers
16 Step Smoky Eye
, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 x 6 in (76 x 76 x 15 cm)


Calida Rawles
New Day Coming
, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 120 in (121 x 305 cm)


...
Next of Kin, 2020 (installation view)
Various Small Fires, Seoul, KR

Chase Hall
All my brothers go to heavens
, 2020
Acrylic and coffee on canvas
30 x 40 in (76 x 102 cm)

Chase Hall
Masekela, 2020
Acrylic and coffee on canvas
30 x 24 in (76 x 61 cm)


Chase Hall
Bristol, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 24 in (61 x 61 cm)


Jessie Homer French
Genesis
, 2017
Oil on canvas
40 x 40 in (102 x 102 cm)


Jessie Homer French
Magical Realism on the Cowichan
, 2005
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 120 in (121 x 305 cm)


...
Jessie Homer French
Sunday at Rensselaerville Falls, 1982
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 120 in (121 x 305 cm)
Next of Kin, 2020 (installation view)
Various Small Fires, Seoul, KR


Cindy Ji Hye Kim
Character #18, 2020
Graphite, charcoal, pastel, ink, acrylic, and oil on canvas
...
...
Gina Beavers (b. 1978 in Athens, Greece, lives and works in New York) received a BA of Anthropology at the University of Virginia, a MFA in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MS in Education from Brooklyn College. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions including MoMA PS1, New York; GNYP Gallery, Berlin; Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, CA; Carl Kostyal, London, UK; Clifton Benevento, New York, NY; and Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, OR. Recent group exhibitions include Gió Marconi, Milan, IT; Foxy Productions, New York, NY; CAPITAL, San Francisco, CA; Loyal Gallery, Stockholm, SE; Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY; Nassau County Museum of Art, New York, NY; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, NY; Cheim and Read, New York, NY; and Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York, NY. The artist will present her first solo presentation with Various Small Fires in Seoul this fall. 
Diedrick Brackens (b. 1989, Mexia, Texas, lives and works in Los Angeles, California) received a BFA from University of North Texas and a MFA in textiles from California College of the Arts. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at New Museum, New York, NY; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA; Sewanee University Art Gallery; Ulrich Museum of Art; and Johansson Projects. Recent group exhibitions include Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; California African American Museum; Jewish Contemporary Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Dimensions Variable, Miami, FL; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY; and Denny Gallery, New York, NY. Brackens is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; New Orleans Museum of Art, MI; and the Oakland Museum of California. 
Jessie Homer French (b. 1940, New York, New York, lives and works in Mountain Center, California) has held solo exhibitions including Independent New York; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin, IR and London, UK; Art Basel Hong Kong, CN; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA; the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA; Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Winchester Gallery, British Columbia, CA; and Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as the Palm Springs Museum, CA; Laguna Art Museum, CA; and at Samuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. French’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Palm Spring Art Museum, CA and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C. 
Chase Hall (b. 1993, St. Paul, Minnesota; lives and works in Los Angeles, California) attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, NY. Hall has exhibited at the ICA, Los Angeles, CA; Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; Jenkins Johnson Projects, New York, NY; LTD, Los Angeles, CA; Museo Nacional De San Carlos, Mexico City; Barbara Feinman Gallery, San Francisco; Cob Gallery, London; and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, IR. Hall has held residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, FL; The Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, CA; The Macedonia Institute, New York, NY; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, IR. 
Cindy Ji Hye Kim (Incheon, South Korea, 1990, lives and works in New York) received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MFA from the Yale University School of Art. Solo exhibitions include Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York, NY; François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; Cooper Cole, Toronto, Ontario, CA; Helena Anrather, New York, NY. Selected group exhibitions include Antenna Space, Shanghai, CN; Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, CA; Bahamas Biennale, Detroit, MI. Kim’s work is included in the permanent collections of the The University of Chicago and Collection Majudia. The artist will present her first solo presentation with Various Small Fires in Seoul next year. 
Calida Rawles (b.1976, Wilmington, Delaware, lives and works in Los Angeles, California) received a BA at Spelman College, Atlanta, and a MA at New York University. She has held solo exhibitions at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, and Frieze Los Angeles. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Fullerton College Art Gallery, CA; LACMA Inglewood Art + Film Lab, CA; the San Francisco Arts Commission, CA; Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Papillon Art, Los Angeles, CA; and Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY. Rawles’ work is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.
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SELECTED WORKS BY NEXT OF KIN ARTISTS
Gina Beavers
The Life I Deserve
, 2019 (installation view)
MoMA PS1, New York, NY

About the exhibition
Diedrick Brackens
darling divined, 2019 (installation view).
New Museum, New York, NY

About the exhibition
Chase Hall
troubled waters
, 2020 (installation view)
Los Angeles, CA
Calida Rawles
A Dream for My Lilith, 2020 (installation view)
Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA

About the exhibition
Jessie Homer French
Chernobyl, 2020 (installation view)
Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA 

About the exhibition
Cindy Ji Hye Kim
The Sword Without the Famine Within, 2019 (installation view)
Francois Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA

About the exhibition
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Somin Jeon, Seoul
+82 10 9149 2377

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