Hitomi Iwasaki (Director of Exhibition / Curator of Queens Museum)
High-contrast, hard-edge graphic quality of Mary Laube‘s painting borders between representation and abstraction, material and immaterial. Her use of shadow suggests the real-life physicality of the image’s origin — even anthropomorphic in some cases — is about system and role of human memory. By doing so it points to the precarious relationship between experience and existence of memory in our increasingly material-oriented (alas while digitally processed) global culture.
Stamatina Gregory (Curator and art historian, and the Associate Dean of the School of Art at The Cooper Union)
Mary Laube reclaims the language of modernist painting, wresting it away from midcentury discourses on “flatness” and “medium specificity,” and creating a window into playful and contemplative spaces. Her paintings have both a bold formal strength and a deep intimacy, structured around the dense topography of braided hair, the pattern of a hanbok, the shallow recesses of a shelf—forms of deceptive simplicity that articulate themselves through uncannily prominent shadows. These are paintings that speak to the depths of individual memory; paintings that, over time, keep giving.
Keith Schweitzer (Owner/Director of SFA Projects, New York)
Mary Laube‘s paintings are portraits of objects that evoke domesticity and nostalgia. Laube compresses her subjects to the point where they seem like collages of cardboard cutouts, or miniaturized theatrical dioramas, to delightful effect. This flattening is disorienting against her convincing rendering of texture and materiality. We’re presented with an illogical, artificial reality that feels familiar. Laube seems to have fun in her handling of texture and surface, and in her use of color and pattern, yet there is a seriousness to it all – an invisible weight – which probably explains the flattening.
The AHL Foundation is a non-profit organization formed in 2003 by Sook Nyu Lee Kim to support Korean artists living in the United States and to promote exposure of their work in today’s highly competitive contemporary art world.
In 2004, the AHL Foundation established an annual competition that is open to all artists of Korean ancestry living in the United States. AHL awards four monetary prizes each year and has been mounting bi-annual exhibitions to display the winning works. Since 2008, AHL has advanced to an annual exhibition, and this year, 2010, AHL has expanded its awards to honor five artists, thus broadening their scope of diversity and opportunity.