D Yoo Resume Pic

I received my degree in Fine Art and the Humanities from the University of Chicago, where my strongest influences were my painting professor Vera Klement and the proximity of the Art Institute of Chicago. My undergraduate work was primarily abstract, deeply influenced by Matisse, Russian icon painting, Robert Motherwell, and Barnett Newman.

After graduation, I had no definite interest in teaching as a career, and chose not to pursue a master’s degree. Instead  I decided to pursue my growing interest in painterly realism. At that time Minimalism and Conceptualism were dominant, but there was (as there is still) a core of distinguished American artists who practiced the kind of contemporary realism based on modernism that attracted and inspired me. Matisse continued to be a guiding light, but I also became interested in the work of Larry Rivers, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Edward Hopper, Richard Diebenkorn, John Singer Sargent, and contemporary still life painters in general. After seven years of work, I felt ready to approach galleries, and was offered representation by Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago in 1983. Still life comprised the majority of my paintings for many years, with occasional dips into figure and landscape.

In the late 80s/early 90s I traveled frequently to Switzerland and Maine to paint, and along the way still life gradually took a back seat to landscape. I studied and admired the work of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, Ferdinand Hodler, Fairfield Porter, and Lois Dodd. Enchanted by Maine immediately,  I felt I had found a place that would provide an endless source of visual problems to challenge me, and eventually moved here from Chicago in 1996.

In 2018, I traveled to Russia in order to look more closely at major collections of Russian icon painting. Currently I am engaged in a body of work that is a departure from landscape as the result of this trip.

How I work

I am repeatedly drawn to essentially abstract relationships, intense color and light, and the tension that strong diagonals and negative space create in a composition, whether it is rocks and water, the woods, a flower garden, or buildings in a landscape.  One of the greatest joys of painting, particularly outdoors, is that heightened sense of perception that awakens and makes everything beautiful and paintable. Another joy is finding the marks that my hand likes to make and incorporating them into a coherent and expressive painterly surface.

When working on ladnscapes, I paint primarily from life, studies, and memory. Though I have frequently painedt outdoors, I don’t identify with the “plein air” designation. It’s simply that when looking for visual problems that interest me, I have generally found most of them outdoors. Photographs are occasionally useful for recording complicated shapes, but otherwise I don’t find them very helpful.

When looking for what to paint, I rely on that mysterious intuition that suddenly says, “This looks interesting.”  I don’t seek anything out deliberately. Being open and vulnerable to failure is important for growth as well as avoiding excessive self-curating.

In recent years, the information set down outdoors has become more of a starting point. The resolution of the painting now happens in my studio weeks, and sometimes months, afterwards. I’ve become more of a seeker than a finder.

My landscape paintings are mostly in oil on sized and prepared watercolor paper, linen canvas, or in gouache on paper. The oil on paper work is permanently mounted on cradled hardboard for presentation and durability. My recent work is a departure with regard to many of my usual painting practices. Stay tuned.