Mirena Rhee Projects



Here I put works in progress, installations, sketches, drawings, photography, animation, plans for future work. I am constantly planning new work and revisiting ideas and coming up with new ones. This is a visual shuffle board. I often photograph my own artwork, drawings, installations and performance.  Other projects here are about personal stories and the pursuit of obsessions.

One of my greatest and current obsessions is the city of New York, transient spaces like the New York city subway, objects found on the streets of Manhattan. I often create installations spontaneously on the street or drag the objects to the studio and put together a quick installation. There is rarely long and involved premeditation, I rely on the found objects’ energy to quickly come together into an unexpected whole.


One of my long term projects is the pursuit to untangle the mystery of the Japanese Zen Gardens,  Japanese aesthetics, philosophy, minimalist living. This project begun years ago as a strange urge and interest in Japanese Gardens which came out of nowhere and found me digging through library books in the dark ages of the pre-internet. Once I got to Japan I discovered Tokyo street fashion, experienced nirvana on the mats at the Tenryū-ji temple and blasted the walls of my worldview on the terrace at Ryoan-ji.

Another project I have pursued over many years is portraits of people. I love working with people from all walks of life and find relating to others the most rewarding aspect of what I do. I see the human being as the most interesting subject, there never was and never will be anything more perfect.
I once run Bay to Breakers 5K costumed race with my camera across the streets of San Francisco – it was a visual marathon through a collective illusion peppered by the costumed worries and anxieties of the day. In the fall of 2011 I photographed the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park in New York city, focusing on the people in the park and their art. Several days later the NYPD raided the park and all was obliterated.

Often there are patterns and recurrences of abstract shapes in objects, sometimes I look at how objects compel different nuances of color as materials and surroundings change.  Some kind of red, for example,  started because of a red cup and a parking ticket collided on my desk.

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