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