Yeonhee Cheong is Madison, WI-based visual artist who studies the visual language of human bodies in a society, in various media including printmaking, painting, and fiber art. Born in South Korea, she explored many paths including fashion design, before pursuing an MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cheong has been invited to national and international exhibitions at the Surface Design Association, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Art and Literature Lab, Overture Center, Promega Art Center, Ruth Davis Design Gallery, Rosalux Gallery, Artistry, Indianapolis Art Center, and Schweinfurth Art Center. She has received several awards, including those from the International Textile and Apparel Association, and the Surface Design Association. Recently, she won the juried public art commission and installed Us, Midwest, an embroidery painting for the Pinney branch of Madison Public Library.
The beauty of Wisconsin prairies has taught me how to take myself as I am, separated from other’s judgment and intervention. Prairies also inspired me to tell the stories of myself and other human beings, especially in botanical vocabulary that has been deeply embedded in human culture through history. In prairies, while each entity lives its own full life, it gets together with others to create beautiful textures in composition, which gives us warm solace. From this perspective, I approach portraiture in various ways in various media.
Women including myself have often been the main subject of my work. Women’s appearance is the dynamic political arena between the individual and the society and I study and present/represent such dynamics through my own interpretation. At the core of my storytelling through portraiture lies women’s bodily existence, which is often extended into all visual vocabulary including the outfit, poses, decorative elements, and the medium itself. When the subject is a bigger group of people, the work often takes the form of textured landscape in fiber art or expandable surface design, in which each human being is still described but with less idiosyncrasy, to emphasize the social texture and force that the individual creates together with others.