Kira Nam Greene’s work explores female sexuality, desire and control through still-life paintings of food, surrounded by complex patterns and abstract designs. Imbuing feminist legacies of Pattern and Decoration Movement with transnational motifs, Greene makes colorful paintings that are unique combinations of realism and abstraction, employing diverse media such as oil, gouache, watercolor and colored pencil. Combining Pop Art tropes and transnationalism, she also examines the politics of food through the depiction of brand name food products, or junk food. Recently, Greene started a figurative painting series titled “Tribal Council.” Spurred by the election of Donald Trump, ensuing crisis of conscience, Women’s March and #metoo movement, this new body of work aspire to present the power of collective action by women. A gallery filled with the portraits of creative, independent women of diverse backgrounds would be a powerful antidote not only to current political state of misogyny and divisiveness but also to museums filled with the portraits of white men in power. For these new paintings, Greene asks each subject to select a classical figure painting to emulate the poses for our photoshoot. In the ensuing painting, she includes symbols, patterns, accoutrements of their professional achievements emerged from our discussions during the photoshoot. Utilizing art historical quotations (Da Vinci, Veronese, Manet, etc.) but in denial of any decorative objectification, Greene depicts women on their own terms in exacting details, surrounded by signifiers of their professional achievements.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Kira Nam Greene lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and her MFA from School of Visual Arts, Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and BA in International Relations from Seoul National University. Greene has shown her work widely at venues such as Sheldon Museum of Art, Brown University, Salisbury University, Wave Hill, Bronx Museum of Art, Noyes Museum, Accola Griefen Gallery, Lodege Gallery, Kiechel Fine Art, A.I.R. Gallery and Jane Lombard Gallery. Her work has been covered in publications such as Artnet News, Art F City, Wallpaper, W Magazine, Lincoln Star Journal, Art21 Blog, Hyphen Magazine, The Korea Daily and New York Art Beat. She is currently a Stewart MacMillan Chair in Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD.