Intimate Spectres


Amanda Nolan Booker            Martha Zmpounou
Amy Usdin                      Meredith Sellers
Haley Darya Parsa              Rotem Reshef
Jihyun Song                    Stefania Zocco
Junli Song                     Viktor Witkowski
Mae Chan                       Xander Hoffman

November 15 - December 12, 2021

Young Space is pleased to present INTIMATE SPECTRES, an exhibition that takes feelings of presence and absence as a starting point to weave together twelve artists' perspectives on personal and cultural memory, the nature of desire, impermanence and the traces left behind.

What does it mean to be close to one another, to indicate a sense of real knowing and understanding between people? The rituals and habits we evolve to show affection and care develop in proximity; the places we meet and the spaces of togetherness become woven into the fabric of our interactions. More than ever before we are able to maintain—and even build—connection through technology and services that allow us to connect instantaneously from disparate parts of the globe, yet intimacy implies a physical closeness that no matter how hard we try, can’t be replicated via screens.

The immediacy of physical embrace is central to Mae Chan’s multimedia sculptures, whose pieces move around one another just like two people who hug one another experience a series of connections and disconnections. Stefania Zocco’s paintings approach touch in a different way, through the lens of a screen and the movements one’s finger makes over the surface, “chasing duties and pleasures.” Xander Hoffman takes the notion of the screen another step, exploring fleeting plays of light and encounters with a phantom-like presence in a liminal space.

Individual presence plays a role in Martha Zmpounou’s piercing portraits, which embrace material chance and seek to capture a figure’s inner essence, bringing the viewer into closer proximity with them. The space between viewer and artwork becomes intimate in itself, inviting one into mysterious and undulating landscapes, which is also present in Viktor Witkowski’s disorienting skies, Rotem Reshef’s fossil-like, ghostly, botanical abstractions, or Amanda Nolan Booker’s spectral flowers that appear and disappear like wisps of smoke. Texas-based Haley Darya Parsa also strives to make connections that highlight notions of distance and separation, placing objects and rituals under what she describes as an “intimate meditative lens” within the larger context of personal identity, culture, and memorialization. Meredith Sellers also considers the painting as a lens, or more specifically a window into history and certain imagery’s relationship to power, history, apathy and desire. Historical sources also inspire the prints of Junli Song, who reinterprets the ancient Chinese cosmographical text, Shanhaijing, through a feminist, diasporic lens, describing that as a Chinese-American woman, “I have undertaken the project of world-building as a way to create a space where I belong.”

Amy Usdin examines closeness, separation and loss of family in distinct ways: Usdin’s practice incorporated weaving as a meditative practice while caring for her ailing father, which she describes as something of an “abstract parallel to the careful but imperfect tending of worn objects that had outlived their use.” Jiyhun Song’s ceramic shell forms are another way to think about loss, or the hollow feeling left in its wake. Song considers how vessels on display in museums ostensibly no longer fulfill that function, and are instead permanent voids, a metaphor for what is left behind.

The artists in this exhibition consider myriad relationships to people and places that are imbued with a sense of closeness, or a separation from it. The space between people, itself an entity, can make accordion-like expansions and contractions; at times it can feel like a looming, solid thing with the power to change the way we feel about and interact with each other, whether very distant or incredibly close – or anywhere in between.

Text by Kate Mothes

About the Artists

Amanda Nolan Booker

Amanda Nolan Booker is a painter based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2020. While attending UTC, she was awarded the merit based scholarships, the Peggy Stagmaier Scholarship and the Authors and Artists Club Scholarship. She worked as co-manager of the student-run gallery Apothecary Gallery during her final year at UTC. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and is part of private collections worldwide. She was most recently included in Space Case: Making a Case for Artist Run Spaces at LABspace in Hillsdale, NY and ‘Of course, I haven’t forgotten!’ curated by Warbling Collective at 155a Artists Space in London.

Amy Usdin

Minnesota artist Amy Usdin reclaims vintage fiber nets as armatures for sculptures that speak to memory, nostalgia and the meaning of objects. Her work has been juried into gallery and museum exhibitions nationwide, including prestigious surveys representing the diversity and breadth of contemporary craft and fiber art. Recognition includes the 2019 Surface Design Award from the Surface Design Association’s International Exhibition in Print, a 2020 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the 2021 Award for Excellence and Innovation from the Textile Center of Minnesota.

Haley Darya Parsa

Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1996, Haley Darya Parsa received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin before moving to Brooklyn, New York, where she currently lives and works. In 2020, the artist’s work was the subject of two solo exhibitions at Third Room Project, Haley Darya Parsa: The sun leaves me to find you in Portland, OR, and Haley Darya Parsa: Sharing Suns online. In 2019, a solo presentation of the artist’s work, Haley Darya Parsa: What is Lost in Distance and Separation, curated by Carlotta Wald, was on view at Winterfeldtstr 56 in Berlin, Germany. Her work has also appeared in ArtMaze Magazine and Maake Magazine.

Jihyun Song

Jihyun Song was born in Korea. She started learning professional ceramics undertaking a BA in Ceramics at Dankook University in Korea in 2012 where she researched the roots of Korean historical ceramics making contemporary interpretations. After graduation, she studied at the Royal College of Art, she has expanded her practice and shown her works within the UK, China, beyond Korea, to include film and photography alongside thrown ceramic sculpture. Her next step is to continue her research and experimentation with clay, alongside her lens-based mediums in residency at EKWC in the Netherlands.

Junli Song

Junli Song grew up in Chicago, but lived abroad from 2012-2018 in South Korea, England, Italy, and South Africa. Her studies are similarly widespread: she originally majored in economics and international development before returning to the creative path, first with an MA in children’s book illustration, and currently, an MFA with a concentration in printmaking. As an artist and storyteller, she uses visual narratives to explore the cultural ambiguities of being Chinese American and growing up in a biracial immigrant household.

Mae Chan

Mae Chan (born 1991) is an artist based in London, graduated with an MA in Mixed Media - Textiles at the Royal College of Art. Her practice is a multidisciplinary fusion of textiles, craft and sculpture. Rooted in poetic, narrative, and artisanal traditions, Chan's work invites viewers to connect empathically through affect-driven mediums. Her mixed - media sculptures reframe objects within different contexts of intimacy, boundary, and judgement. Playing with the semiotics of form and touch, she dissects subtle emotional shifts, leveraging the human form as a foundational metaphor.

Martha Zmpounou

Martha Zmpounou is a visual artist and a lecturer (University of the Arts London) based in London. She holds a degree in Fine arts and an MA in Painting from Aristotle University of Fine arts (Greece) and an MA from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art (UK). She is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors and she has been awarded several awards including the Cass Art award, the St Cuthbert Mill watercolor prize, the De Laszlo Foundation Award from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and she was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and the Ashurst Emerging artist Prize. Her work has been exhibited and published widely in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Greece. Some of her exhibitions in the UK include Artworks open, National Open Art Competition, Jerwood Drawing Price, the Royal society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Institute of Watercolor Painters, The Sunday Times Watercolor Exhibition, the Royal Society of British artists, The Threadneedle Prize, the Discerning Eye, Modern Panic III, Xhibit and AOI’s best of British Illustration Images 35. Her work was selected to be published several times at Aesthetica’s annuals, Creative Works, ArtMaze Magazine and Create Magazine.

Meredith Sellers

Meredith Sellers (b. 1988, Baltimore, MD) is an artist and writer living and working in Philadelphia. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Sellers has exhibited work at Young Space, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at UArts, ICA Philadelphia, Lord Ludd, Vox Populi, Icebox Project Space, Pilot Projects, Pressure Club, and Fleisher Art Memorial. Her curatorial projects include Chewing the Scenery at Crane Arts, and The Midnight Sun at Pilot Projects (both co-curated with Jonathan Santoro), and Edith at Esther Klein Gallery. She is an editor for Philadelphia-based online art publication Title Magazine; her writing has appeared in Hyperallergic, ArtsJournal, Pelican Bomb, and American Craft Magazine.

Rotem Reshef

Rotem Reshef’s work has been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions, in venues as the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler, AZ; Ethan Cohen Gallery, Beacon, NY, Kwan Fong Gallery, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA; Tall Wall Space, University of La Verne, California; Gallery 110, Seattle, WA; Soho House, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California; Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, Israel; Among others. Reshef recently participated in a residency program at RU - Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, 2020, and at a summer residency program in the School of Visual Art, NY, in 2015.

Stefania Zocco

Stefania Zocco lives and works in London; she attended her BA and MA at the Fine Art Academy in Palermo respectively in 2006 and in 2012, and graduated from the Royal College of Art, painting department, in 2018. In 2019 she was a Bloomberg New Contemporary artist. Recent exhibitions includes Bloomberg New Contemporary, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, and South London Gallery, London, UK, 2019; Espacio, luz y orden, Josedelafuente Gallery, Santander, SP 2019; Varie da km zero, Moon Contemporary, Carini Castel, Palermo, IT 2017; Temperature poco sotto la norma, MAS, Modica, IT 2017; Ficarra Contemporary Divan, Residency, Ficarra, IT, 2015; Pianeta X, Riso Museo Arte Contemporanea, Palermo, IT 2014.

Viktor Witkowski

Viktor Witkowski is a painter and filmmaker. He was born in Poland and grew up in Germany where he graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (HBK Braunschweig, Germany) with a combined master’s degree in Studio Art, Art History and Art Education in 2006. The same year, he immigrated to the US where he earned an MFA in Visual Arts from Rutgers University in 2010. He currently splits his time between Vermont (US) and Leipzig (DE). Viktor Witkowski’s writing and criticism has been published on Hyperallergic, the Painters’ Table, in The Brooklyn Railand the New Art Examiner. His films and videos have been screened at numerous festivals in the US and abroad including such venues as the Pergamon Museumin Berlin, the York Art Galleryin York (UK), the LA Underground Film Forumin Los Angeles, The Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Imagein New York City, and the AVIFF Cannes Art Film Festivalin Cannes (France). In addition, his paintings have been featured in solo and group shows across the US, as well as in France and Germany.

Xander Hoffman

Xander Hoffman (born 1993) based in Manchester, studied Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 2019. His work is an exploration into screen0based imagery through the medium of painting, working primarily in oil paint but occasionally using other materials such as retroreflective paints and pigments. He seeks to record impermanent, data-based images through paint so as to give these weightless moments a physical presence. Hoffman’s approach to painting has varied widely from impasto, pixel oriented works that seek to give a weightless image tangibility to the point of tactility, to more traditional oil paintings focused on the subtle quirks of interaction with a screen, concerned with creating a physical memory for a data based image through the action of painting.

About Young Space

Young Space (est. 2014) is an independent, itinerant curatorial project and online platform organized by Kate Mothes,  emphasizing new and exciting work by early-career and emerging artists.