American Boys – Broadway
2009 by Jungyeon Roh
Broadway Gallery until 15th July; undergroundonbroadway.wordpress.com
Roh’s Broadway silk-screeen comes from her series American Boys, which tells the story of Miss Eggplant, a “representation of Veganism”, in New York along to the lyrics of Estelle’s song American Boy. The series progresses like a book, with each page absorbing its lyrics innovatively into the design, and each design articulated through Roh’s beautifully executed silk-screens. These are pop art like in their style but intricately approached; the black outline of the design is meticulous, with colour often intricately approached through Lichtenstein-like dots. Colour itself is subtle to balance the playful nature of the design, deep magenta is juxtaposed with pale pastels, with mint green adding a fresh vibrance throughout the composition. The Broadway page itself is perhaps one of the strongest silk-screens compositionally, with this wonderful perspective that catapults our viewpoint down Broadway. Buildings get smaller and more intricate, the crowds walk like little armies in the distance, and the New York City bus emerges symbolically from the perspective’s vanishing point. The scene is completely evocative of Times Square and ‘bright lights, big city’ New York, with the song lyrics materialising on the sides of buildings like brightly lit advertisements. However, they retain their jovial song-like nature, rippling along the buildings with movement and migrating across the street, curling playfully round the figures of Miss Eggplant and her new lover. Roh’s silk-screens are exciting and excellently drawn, and Broadway provides the perfect whirl-wind snapshot of New York for the Pop-Up New York show that ran alongside Underground on BROADWAY.