Paige Jiyoung Moon

The Paris Review

New and Recent Work

Charlotte Strick | Issue 236, Spring 2021

This spring, with the world still in on-again, off-again lockdown, our memories of seasons past grow sweeter. The California-based artist Paige Jiyoung Moon makes a practice of recording her memories in paint. Her canvases are ambitious not in scale (no work included here is larger than two feet across), but in their level of minute, prismatic detail. She playfully skews perspective, hovering just above each scene like a ghost revisiting an experience that she won’t allow time to swallow up. Quotidian moments are captured with a jeweler’s eye: her home being spruced up with the help of friends in Painting Day; a cluttered hotel room shared with her parents in Oakhurst Lodge; and in Warm House, an evening with friends in a crowded Seoul bar.

How fine Moon’s brushes must be! Her interiors chronicle our dependence on gadgets and consumer comforts in a most intimate way. If you have the good fortune to examine these works in person—or with a magnifying glass in these pages—a game of I Spy will reveal familiar corporate logos (the lettering meticulously rendered) on empty Papa John’s pizza boxes, stuffed Trader Joe’s grocery bags, and used Starbucks cups. In contrast, her outdoor scenes are mainly free of single-use plastics and the excesses of modern life, but you’ll find clusters of spiny desert shrubs and the like filling in the corners of these canvases with equal maximalist zeal. Her landscapes leave no natural detail unexamined—every stone, sand grain, and pine needle is accounted for.

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