Shapeshifters: Select Works by Joshua Adams and Jiha Moon
Jan 17, 2020
Mar 29, 2020
FRONT & CENTER
Front & center
Shapeshifters features over forty works by Joshua Adams (Cherokee, NC) and Jiha Moon (Atlanta, GA). Included in folklore the world over, shapeshifters are beings or spirits that can physically transform into the shape of another. Similarly, masks can be used to transform the wearer, allowing the performer to become someone or something other than themselves. As a decorative and aesthetic form rooted in specific cultural heritages, the mask becomes integral for Adams’ and Moon’s exploration of personal identity.
Adams, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and trained woodcarver, often creates masks inspired by traditional Cherokee stories in order to educate viewers about tribal culture. Addressing his own personal experience, Adams observes the complexity of living in the multiple cultural contexts of maintaining Cherokee tradition in the contemporary South.
Korean-born artist Moon assembles and paints her work with recognizable imagery, such as fortune cookies, dragons, and emojis juxtaposed with facets of southern culture, such as peaches, face jugs, and the southernism “bless your heart.” By playfully combining eastern and western symbols, Moon reflects on the intricacies of identity and nationhood in an increasingly global society.
Adams’ and Moon’s works defy conventional categorization and shift misconceptions of their respective identities by skillfully combining surfaces and symbols. The mask is just one format that these artists use, yet it provides a valuable lens into understanding their broader art practice.
about the artists
Photo credit: Jamie Hopper
Joshua Adams (born 1982) works predominantly in the medium of wood sculpture, but includes stone carvings, paintings, photography, molding, 3D printing, pottery and videography.
Joshua Adams (born 1982) works predominantly in the medium of wood sculpture, but includes stone carvings, paintings, photography, molding, 3D printing, pottery and videography. Adams is part of a long lineage of Cherokee woodcarvers, starting with his family James “Red” and Irma Bradley. Adams also studied under renowned Cherokee artist Dr. James Bud Smith and was directly influenced by legendary Cherokee artists Amanda Crowe and John Julius Wilnoty. Adams had held the position of woodcarving instructor at Cherokee High School for nearly ten years. He is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee and the Qualla Arts and Crafts Cooperative, and an alumni of Western Carolina University. His work has been exhibited throughout the world.
Most recently Adams’ mask, “False Faced God,” was included in the permanent collection at the Asheville Art Museum. In 2018 Adams participated and curated “Renewal of the Ancient,” a showcase of over 30 Cherokee millennial artist at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in collaboration with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. In 2018 Adams’ mounted a solo exhibit at Western Carolina University titled, “Facing Culture.” Adams’ work was selected for inclusion in the fifth annual Cherokee Days Festival at the Nation Museum of the American Indian. In 2016 Adams received a 1st place ribbon in the Sculpture division at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. Adams also received two awards at the 2016 Cherokee Art Market, including the Culture Keeper Award and Best of Class in the Sculpture Division. Previously, he placed 1st at the 2015 SWAIA Indian Market in Diverse Arts and was also awarded two first place ribbons at the 2015 Cherokee Indian Fair for his entries in painting and traditional masks. His work was also chosen for the Art in Embassies project and is currently on display at the Tanzanian Embassy.
Photo credit: Jamie Hopper
Jiha Moon (born 1973) is from DaeGu, Korea and lives and works in Atlanta, GA. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Jiha Moon (born 1973) is from DaeGu, Korea and lives and works in Atlanta, GA. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Her works have been acquired by Asia Society, New York, NY, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC, Smithsonian Institute, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA. She has had solo exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, GA, Taubman Museum, Roanoke, VA, the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC, The Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN and Rhodes College, Clough-Hanson Gallery, Memphis, TN and James Gallery of CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY. She has been included in group shows at Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA, Asia Society, New York, NY, The Drawing Center, New York, NY, White Columns, New York, NY, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, and the Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC. She is recipient of prestigious Joan Mitchell foundation’s painter and sculptor’s award for 2011. Her mid-career survey exhibition, "Double Welcome: Most Everyone’s Mad" Here organized by Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and Taubman Museum has toured more than 10 museum venues around the country until 2018.
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