June 2018

My recent body of work is inspired by still life paintings from cultures in the East and West. The East is Korean Minhwa, Folk art paintings which where created by unskilled anonymous painters sometimes they are a little wild, playful and characterize by bold color and exaggerated forms. They paint a kind of reality that I appreciate as a Korean and I have chosen them over more scholarly well known trained painters who's painting embodies Confucianist values which I find repressive. 

From the West I am interested in the well known Northern European painters from the Netherlands and Germany. When I look at the European still life painting, I can enter into the space of what has been illustrated in such great realistic detail. They paint a kind of reality that I can understand as someone who has been studying and practicing art in the west for over a decade. 

I am attracted to paintings in general because that contain the suggestion of dynamic space and atmosphere. These are hard to translate into sculpture but I enjoy the challenge.

Specifically, I worked with the Korean scholars table painting which is like European version of "cabinets of curiosity". I picked paintings that have distorted perspectives and use objects from nature and culture. And of course I added mystical creatures from legendary imaginary animals which forms a rich part of the cultural heritage of Korea.

From the West I am not attempting to recreate the space of any particular painting but want to be inspired by the quality of detail and attempted faithfulness to the reality of an object to the point it becomes almost surreal. I have chosen the highly skilled painters of the west to borrow from. I cannot recreate a whole painting and so have selected a focal point in specific paintings. I was excited to see that the berry bowl in a Flegel painting was from the East. There are times when I see these paintings that  they transport me to another place that is sweet very specific and reminded me when I was younger how exciting it was after long hard winter to see the energy of spring. There is an optimism and excitement or happiness enough to make me blush and so I use pink.

What I borrow from these paintings is not always rationally explainable and it is not really a cultural comparison. I am searching for hybridized artistic tools from the two cultural worlds that I inhabit in order to find my singing voice in the studio. 

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