Carlee Fernandez · Min Kim · Edward Lipski · Virgil Ortiz · Thomas Trosch · Mie Yim

The notion of the grotesque is more complex than it may first appear.  It is a pervasive aesthetic throughout modern art history which addresses contradictions and celebrates the subversive and unfamiliar.  It challenges conventional taste. Six contemporary emerging and nationally known artists will be featured in Borderland, including Carlee Fernandez, Min Kim, Edward Lipski, Virgil Ortiz, Thomas Trosch and Mie Yim. 

Borderland was organized in conjunction with Boundary Creatures, an exhibition at the Epsten Gallery, Jewish Museum/Village Shalom, featuring artists Anthony Baab, Rie Egawa, Jordan Nickel, Kaz Oshiro, Lynus Young and Burgess Zbryk. This exhibition is also a wonderful opportunity to recognize the scholarship of UMKC Professor Frances Connelly.  Her research and writings on this subject provided part of the impetus for the exhibit.

“The expressions and motivations of the grotesque come more clearly into focus if we recognize these images for what they are: boundary creatures.  They live precisely in the space between what is known and unknown, in the threshold between disparate things.

Grotesques are typically characterized by what they lack: fixity, stability, order.  Mikhail Bakhtin emphasized the creative dimensions of this flux, however, describing the grotesque as “a body in the act of becoming… never finished, never completed; it is continually built, created, and builds and creates another body.”  In other words, grotesques may be better understood as “trans-”, as modalities; better described for what they do, rather than what they are.

These modalities are at play on the boundaries and nowhere else.  In contrast to the boundedness of beauty or the boundlessness of the sublime, the grotesque does not exist except in relation to a boundary, convention, or expectation.  The grotesque is defined by what it does to boundaries, merging, overflowing, destabilizing them, evoking responses from wonder and repulsion to laughter and dread.”

- Francis Connelly, Professor of Art History, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Born in 1973, Los Angeles-based artist Carlee Fernandez received an MFA in 1999 from Claremont Graduate University in California, and in 1997, she earned a BFA from California State University, Fullerton.

Min Kim was born in 1975 in Seoul, South Korea. She earned a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, in 1997.

Edward Lipski is a British artist born in 1966. He studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, receiving a BA in 1992 and an MA in 1994.

Virgil Ortiz is an American Indian artist from the Cochiti Pueblo, born in 1969. He lives and works in New Mexico.

Thomas Trosch studied at Rhode Island School of Design and the New York Studio School. He is now based in New York.

Mie Yim was born in South Korea in 1963, and currently lives and works in New York. She earned a BFA in 1986 from the Philadelphia College of Art; she also studied at the Tyler Art School in Rome, Italy; the Mid-Pacific Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii; and the Parsons School of Design, New York.