Yoon Nam brings a gentleness to Hi-Lo Press

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Yoon Nam makes deceptively heavy work. Six floating, cheerful cat heads hang in a blank space for "Cat Smears." A closer look, however, could reveal subtle differences in expression; some of the cats let a hint of scarlet tongue out. Is it thirst? Thirst for water? Thirst for comfort? Thirst for more babes liking an Instagram post? All these nuanced questions can and, Nam says she hopes, will come into play when digesting her latest series, Inane but Sensitive.

"There are too many negative connotations clouding around the word 'sensitive' in this culture," Nam, a native of Seoul, South Korea, tells CL over email. "But to be sensitive really means to pay attention and be vulnerable and receptive enough to recognize there is no beauty without disappointment, there is no poetry without paradox, and there is nothing so small as to be dismissed or devalued in life."So the feline thirst in "Cat Smears" could really apply to the thirst as a spectrum.Animals, and cats especially, appear in a lot of her work. "My Beautiful, Frightening Cat" presents what's presumably Nam's cat reclined, belly-up, with notes of blue throughout. Its lips part into an anthropomorphic expression of joy. "Hash tags and internet cat or dog pictures aren’t always ironic," she says. "If you pay attention, it is more visceral than ironic."The title of the exhibition is meant to highlight the marriage of appearance versus inner brain buzzing. "My End Will Be A Comedy," above, reflects heavily on that with a wink. We see a smeared-face clown seemingly skating away from a wash of blue. Buried in the cacophony of color we see tightly-clasped hands, which could suggest anxiety, sweetness, or a mixture of the two. "This show is about illuminating the strength in being sensitive, in caring too much and too widely about inane, trivial, pedestrian, and common stuff in life," Nam says. An empowering, resonating concept.Inane but Sensitive. Noon-6 p.m. Mon.-Tues.; Thurs.-Sat. Runs through October 10. Hi-Lo Press, 696 Charles Allen Dr. N.E. 678-632-3346. www.hilopress.com.

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