Saturday, November 27, 2021

BrooklynSeoul: Meet the Curators Lee Geuryung and Lee Hojin

BrooklynSeoul is currently on view at the BWAC gallery in Red Hook through December 12. Don't miss this exceptional exhibit. You can read this review in the BWAC Buzz for a preview.

                    Lee Geuryung  The self-portrait _ acrylic on canvas_38 x 60 inch

The Curators

Sister and brother team, Lee Geuryung and Lee Hojin are the co-curators of BrooklynSeoul. It's always informative to learn about the curators, their point of view and their objectives with an exhibit. I had the opportunity to meet Lee Geuryung at the Chashama Studios Open House in October. I learned about the exhibit she had proposed to Alicia Degener that was going to open November 13. She told me  she was soliciting Korean, Korean-American artists and artists whose work represented Korean artistic traditions and current Korean contemporary art. As a long time student of Asian art, I was already looking forward to seeing the artwork she would put together. Extra bonus, I love the pun of the title.

As you will learn in the interview, Geuryung is a very new member of BWAC. How incredibly exciting to welcome new members with this kind of vision and energy to  our community!

Monday, November 15, 2021

BWAC Ends the 2021 Season with Blockbuster Exhibits

BrooklynSeoul shines as part of a trio of exceptional exhibitions that opened at BWAC on November 13, running through December 12. Don’t miss any of these exciting exhibits; BWAC Fall Member Show, Brooklyn Seoul and the Holiday Market. 

BrooklynSeoul was co-curated by BWAC member Geuryung Lee and her brother, Hojin Lee and features their work and art from a selection of Korean and Korean American artists. I had the delightful experience at the opening of interviewing four of the exhibiting artists. This provided the opportunity to engage with the artwork while I could ask each artist questions about their process and technique.  

                                                      Aaron Chung

Dear Mother 
Acrylic on Cut Canvas and Mesh
99" X 48" X 8"

Aaron Chung’s contribution to the exhibition was my first destination.  I had noticed his work on the BWAC promo for the show and was immediately motivated to see more. Aaron’s work on display are large multi-layer hanging scrolls in a subdued palette featuring botanical subject matter. Aaron is the only one of the four artists I spoke to who was born in the Unites States. He talked about growing up in San Francisco to parents who owned a dry cleaning business. When speaking of the significance of his ethnic background, he remembered he interacted with few Koreans as a child. Aaron acknowledged working hard to learn about his Korean heritage including a Fulbright Fellowship in Korea. 

                                                                 Detail Stream of Thought
                                                             Acrylic on Cut Canvas and Mesh
                                                                            104" X 48" X 8"
When Aaron talked about his concept development, I appreciated the depth and complexity of his thinking. He is referencing flowers, composition and materials of Asian and specifically Korean art and culture while reflecting his contemporary sensibilities. The pieces hang as scrolls in two layers so that cast shadow of the cut canvas is an important component of the work. Enamored by the imagery and scale, I am also intrigued by his technical process. He is drawing botanical imagery, cutting it out of canvas and gluing it on mesh. This scroll hangs in front of another painting. A detail above shows how Aaron incorporates tickets from his parents dry cleaning business in his art...a kind of reference to home.  My favorite is Dear Mother, dedicated to his mother and including flowers associated with mothers in Korean culture. The large botanical imagery of his scrolls captured my heart and spoke to me directly. The pieces are elegantly imposing yet delicate.

Acrylic on Cut Canvas and Mesh
104" X 48" X 8"

Jung Eun Park’s work includes a table with a piece she is working on and the tools she is frequently using, adding a unique dimenions to her installation.  My conversation with Jung Eun focused on her separation from her mother in Korea and the frustration of meaningful communication from such a distance. A recurring image in her work is an icon of a house and vegetation. She explains it this way, “Since I moved to New York from Korea and being separated from my family in a long-distance, I’ve been obsessed about fear of unconnected relationship and uncertainty of where I belong. In my work, I investigate the meaning of home by observing my relationship with people, objects, and environments.”

Jung Eun Park, view of exhibit

Grass is still growing to protect my home, 2021

Pencil, thread, ink, cut-and-pasted paper on coffee dyed Korean mulberry paper

14.5 x 14 inches

I found her most compelling work on the table. It’s the back of a letter to her mother that she has embroidered. It is unreadable to the viewer and speaks to her frustration. As she explains, “In a series of text-embroidered drawings, I use text as imagery of communication difficulty, showing a backside of embroidered text. This was started from the work, “Letter to Mother, 2009”. I embroidered my handwritten letter with red thread and showed the backside of the letter so that viewers including my mother cannot read. The stitched text has been developed as a drawing element combined with a shape of a house to evoke a silence in a relationship." There is a quiet consistency to her work that is comforting while inviting investigation.

As a star gazer and lover of the color blue, Mars Heejung Kim’s work was a knock out for me. The Eclipse series she is exhibiting references her love of the night sky and her desire to be an astronaut as a child growing up in Korea. These paintings resemble mandalas as a symbolic representation of the universe in Buddhism philosophy. On her website she explains “I had the opportunity of studying Tibetan Mandala paintings and I was fascinated by the patterns and symbols found in them.  In my drawings, the concept of Karma plays an important role. It appears as the line that constantly meets and separates throughout the entire picture plane. That line represents the path of my life.” The intensity of the color in these watercolor images is heightned by overpainted white lines that shimmer like the night sky. 

Eclipse 1, 2019, watercolor on paper, 20 x 16 inches

She spoke of dreaming about stars dancing and these express that joyous idea perfectly.

Eclipse 2, 2019, watercolor on paper, 20 x 16 inches

Ji Yong Kim’s playful nature radiates from his work. Truly a multifaceted artist, his work in the exhibit includes mixed media pieces, 3D wall sculpture and 3D animation. The work that captured my attention I knew referenced Buddhist mandalas but with great humor and unique materials. At the center of the large piece is a penis and breasts. Forever Young is in effect a paper collage, but in the most complex sense. Ji has created the paper textures and added glitter as the image is glued and built. The end result is a substantial piece that to me almost felt like leather. We talked about the construction of Tibetan mandalas, which I was fortunate enough to witness at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC and how the glitter did references the sand used in that process.

Forever Young

What appealed the most to me about mandala piece are the botanical images in the four large outer edges. We had fun joking about how his process involved making things as complicated as possible to create a nuanced texture and meaning.

Detail, Forever Young

I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am with the range of offerings at BWAC as the 2021 season comes to an end. Do yourself a huge favor and don’t miss out on these shows and the holiday market. In the future try to come to the openings if you can, talking to the artists is a golden opportuity to expand your understanding of the creative process as it is reflected in the variation of every artists work. It certainly was for me.

COMING SOON: I will interview curator Geuryung Lee and find out about her motivation and process of co-curating this exhibition with her brother, Hojin Lee. I am particularly interested in exploring the idea of the impact of ethnicity and culture on an artist's work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

ChaShaMa Open Studios...Meet the BWAC Artists in Residence

 As a newbie to the multiverse that is Brooklyn, Open Studios are a great way to connect with artists. You have the opportunity to meet artists and see both their work and their working environment. So when BWAC co-president Alicia Degener suggested I visit the ChaShaMa Open Studio event at her studio complex in Sunset Park, I was pleased I could arrange my schedule to do it. My visit will be reported in two posts. The first about BWAC members with studios at this facility and the second about other artists I met on this adventure.

It turned out to be a pleasant 35 minute walk from my apartment. It is located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal which is not a warm and fuzzy place. It’s very large and a bit intimidating…even figuring out how to get in. Fortunately the wise ChaShaMa folks knew I was coming and put out a few signs at strategic locations. 

                     Maurya Brennan, Special Event & Cultivation Director for ChaShaMa

When I finally found the studios, with some help from other pilgrims, I was greeted by Maurya Brennan, Special Events & Cultivation Director for ChaShaMa. I was fascinated to learn ChaShaMa’s origin story. Founded by Anita Durst in 1995, it was dedicated to her mentor who was a filmmaker. In Farsi, ChaShaMa means “to have vision”.  Maurya informs me the ChaShaMa is a complex of over 50 studio facilities and galleries all over NYC. Lots of information on their website.

There are 96 studios just in this complex at the Army Terminal. I stopped by Alicia Degener’s studio to check in. She has a great space with the coveted windows. I saw her tile prep process set up and a collection of paintings on the wall outside her studio space. She wasn’t there when I first arrived so this was a self-guided tour. I really enjoyed seeing the paintings and drawings on the wall outside her studio. I most frequently see her work on tiles and it's wonderful to see the originals full scale. You can see more of her work on her Etsy site. Or follow her on Instagram @adegener

Alicia Degener, work on paper ont the wall outside her studio

When I did connect with Alicia, she directed me to two fellow BWAC members who have studios at ChaShaMa.  My first stop was with Jonathan P Fischer. We have all seen his work because he has frequently provided graphic design services for BWAC.

                           Jonathan P Fischer, Ombra, 2020, paper collage, 62" x 39"

As a designer/collage artist  I was especially interested to see his work and learn about his process. As you might imagine, his studio was full of magazines and other images from various sources with samples of his work hanging from the wall.

Jonathan P Fischer in his studio

The components of his work I found the most interesting were from movie billboards and posters.  He referenced his days in Rome and finding movie posters he incorporated in his work. We talked a little bit about how copyright issues impact/or don’t impact on his work and collage in general. We had a very pleasant visit. Learn more about his work on Artsy.


Geuryung Lee in her studio

Geuryung Lee was my second stop. She is a very active BWAC member currently curating an upcoming exhibit. As described on the BWAC website:  Brooklyn Seoul presents a fresh variety of art with an emphasis on the world as we know it now from a distinctly Korean point of view. Emerging and mid-career (and under-represented) artists are highly encouraged to apply.

Anticipated Opening is November 13, 2021. All disciplines are welcome. Application fee: $35 (U.S.)Enter at Smarter Entry

  Geuryung Lee, The Rain Coat, mixed media on canvas

This large painting welcomed me into her space. I was immediately drawn to a series of large lithographs Geuryung had on the wall of her studio. They consisted of black brush strokes and one color creating a bold, fluid statment, strong and fluid simultaneously.

Geuryung Lee, the Gratitude series, lithographs

Learn more about her work on her website and Instagram @geuryunglee. I am looking forward to the opening of Brooklyn Seoul that will celebrate art from Korean artists, national artists and Asian culture. See you there. 

I was sorry to miss connecting with BWAC artists also in residence at ChaShaMa Stephanie Norberg and James Rose

Stay turned for my next installment about the other artists I met at the ChaShaMa Open Studios.

This blog is produced and written by BWAC board member Kristin Reiber Harris.                You can contact me at

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Meet BWAC Artist: Donnelly Marks

         Donnelly and I have had a chance to get acquainted as new members of BWAC. I have great respect and admiration for her as a person and an artist. She is very creative and prolific and I enjoy watching her work on Instagram as it evolves.  Turns out, as you will see, she is very eloquent as well. Read on. 

                           Wing NÂș 1, 20"x30", photographic collage on 140 lb watercolor paper

1.     Why do you make art?


Creating art is an exhilarating, magical, mind-altering experience and to get lost in the process is a wonderful feeling. Making art puts me right in the moment as well. There’s nothing like being in the now to lift the spirits, which is especially helpful in times like we’re going through now with Covid.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Makers Market: A Feather in BWAC's Cap

The Makers Market located by the Van Brunt entrance to the gallery is only three years old, but it has become an institution in its own right.  It provides artists an ongoing venue to sell their work and the public has responded enthusiastically. 

On a recent visit I had a great conversation with Sandy Forrest, Market Manager. As I perused the shop, I was reminded of the quality and variety of the arts and crafts for sale. Variety has got to be the operative words here.  There are 26 BWAC member artists represented in the shop selling everything from photographs, coasters, ceramics, fiber work, soap, candles, glass, books and more. 

Take a look at some of the work that caught my eye as I wandered around the Market. This is just the tip of the iceberg.


Paul’s Pottery Studio created these ceramic planters for air plants, inverted them and all of a sudden, we're under water.  I love this as both a huge fan of plants and sea creatures. How delightfully clever and whimsical. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Meet BWAC Artist: Brooke Lambert


Brooke Lambert, Blossoms, 8"x10", collograph and gauche

I recently met Brooke because her wonderful prints are on the panel next to mine in the Hello, Brooklyn show now hanging at BWAC. I was immediately attracted to her palette and the joyful nature of her work. As a fellow printmaker, I appreciate her dedication to the process and the unique results it produces.

1. Why do you make art?

I make art to express and communicate my feelings about my surroundings

in nature and to share beauty. I believe it’s important to share beauty in the

world and be a source of positivity in people’s living and working

environments. Art for me is about taking something that’s important to me

and making it visible and more beautiful to other people. I’ve always

thought that the best songs are personal to the person who wrote them but

relatable to anyone who listens to them. My goal for my art is similar: to

make something with deep meaning for myself but also something that

translates to the viewer.

2. What tools/materials do you find essential in your studio?

    My works are primarily collagraphs because I’m drawn to the sculptural

qualities and rich range of color I can achieve in this way of working. To

build a collagraph plate, I first take a piece of matboard and cut it down to

my desired print size. I cover the plate with materials I’ve collected,

including string, netting, and pieces of fabric.

After I arrange my materials on the plate, I use a staple gun to attach

them to the plate while using a brush to cover them with gesso, creating a

sculptural, low-relief surface. I take that plate to my printmaking studio

and cover it with ink using a large brush. When it is completely covered

with ink, I use balled-up tarleton to wipe the ink off most of the plate, so it

sticks only in the crevices in my design.

    I put my plate on my printing press and cover it with wet 100 percent

cotton rag paper. I cover that with newsprint, then run it through the press

to make a print. The enormous pressure of the press drum and press

blanket push materials on my plate into the cotton rag paper to create an

embossed print.

    I take my print and go back to my home studio, where I paint with

gouache to add luminosity and color to my pieces. The results are original

painted collagraph prints.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Storytelling with Art

                                      Trajan on the Roman Mammisi at Dendera, Egypt  
                                                            Photo:Olaf Tausch

I recently attended a virtual storytelling conference, Better" | A STORY 2021 Intensive hosted by Story GatheringsBetter was the emphasis; telling stories about the better world we want to live in. Storytelling and art for a better world, what a great idea.