A native of South Korea, Yeon Ji Yoo immigrated to the United States with her family in 1982, most of her knowledge of her mother country and the rural farmland she was born on are locked in memories from her childhood. But, as a result, her work today is indelibly marked by her remembrances and the childlike awe which shaped them; mother hens towering above her, dark shadows cast in a forest at night, and the cycle of life happening before her, day in, day out.
Living most of her life thereafter in New York City, Yeon Ji maintained her connections to her early upbringing, finding parallels to those strong ties in new ones she would develop through her formative years. With imagery grounded in the visions from her youth, Yeon Ji would develop a coherent body of work tied together, so to speak, by the delicate (yet dependable) and robust (yet fickle) bonds that make and break us at our cores.
After earning her B.F.A. at the Cooper Union, Yeon Ji became an arts educator. In 2005, Yeon Ji earned her M.F.A. in New Forms at the Pratt Institute. Her thesis at Pratt, Budding Grove, was a snapshot of growth and resonance: the richness of a glossy, life-size black tree grove, bustling with micro-scale life in its not-so-hidden underbelly. She augmented her knowledge base by earning her M.S. in Environmental Science at the College of Staten Island in 2007 and continues her personal and artistic pursuit of growth, overgrowth, death, and life.