“Fear and Loathing in Seoul, Tulsa” by Jini Kim shows the role Kim’s rat plays in her art. Photos by Conner Maggio

Jini Kim and Mike Teal pieces in MFA/MA gallery

Showcased in their Masters’ galleries, Jini Kim’s work stands out with its conservative use of color and Mike Teal’s pottery ranges from the simple to the complex.

“My Rat Problem” by Jini Kim is an assortment of canvas paintings featuring a comic and grotesque rat. The paintings themselves are interesting in that there are usually two main colors, one for shadows and one for highlights. They tend to be colors that contrast in some sort of way, like blue for the highlights and orange for the shadows. Some of her paintings have her signature or logo for this gallery, which is like a seal used in East Asian art, but with “Jini Kim” stylized onto it.

In these paintings, there are several movie and pop culture references, specifically action and horror films. The rat predominantly featured in Jini Kim’s work “came out of a personal nightmare, an allusion to a horrendous ex and finally into a symbol of masculine chaos,” according to the artist, and one can infer from her art the rat’s allusion to an attack on women from this toxic masculinity.

The paintings reflect dealing with this rat and interacting with it through the viewpoint of a woman, especially as an Asian woman.

In her artist statement, Kim writes, “Being an Asian woman often casts this expectation to be either a fetish, obedient, loyal, submissive, weak, dependent or a model minority type,” a slew of reasons for the rat’s presence in her work.

Kim adds that, “Colored women in general are exploited for their bodies and a quest to conquer, creating a hostile and dangerous environment between men and women,” further explaining the symbolism found in her work.

The color contrast in her work gives the pieces a visually-appealing uniqueness. It’s these bold colors that let the paintings work so well. The comic and grotesque nature in the rat is fascinating and gives the art charm.

Personally, my favorite piece of her gallery was “Pretty in Pink,” one of the earlier pieces in the gallery. It sets the tone for the rest of the paintings that follow, introducing this disgusting rat and Kim herself. All the colors are done in a warm pink with outlines in black.

“Lament,” “Amen” and “The Anti-climax” by Kim display a series, from which one piece is missing. tucollegian | Collegian


“Contain/Convey” by Mike Teal is a set of pieces that revolves mainly around modern pottery, stoneware and art deco. The pottery and stonework are pretty diverse artistically, developing more in complexity the farther you go into the gallery, from white pottery with ink, to terracotta, to stoneware, to cracked glaze pots.

The wall pieces, made with slip cast clay, are these cool geometric deco-style tiles that keeps the viewer looking. “Tulsa Deco” in particular is really eye-catching, and it’s geometric style makes it a fun piece that grabs attention.

“Terra Bottle Family,” in that same vein, is simple, yet masterfully made. The style of these jars is reminiscent of some older pottery, but the flat top openings give a much more recent vibe. In addition, the beautiful colors and refinement give it a nice, new twist.

“Deco Pot” is a sort of combination of the pieces previously mentioned; it has a pleasing, modern color palette, with lines and traditional art. The pot itself is one of the most different and eye-catching pieces of his work in this gallery. It is unique in that most of his other jars tend to be more classic, whereas this combines the two styles he works with in a meaningful way.

“Jude’s Star” by Mike Teal displays his expansive application of ceramics. tucollegian | Collegian

Post Author: Conner Maggio