The Musing Forest

by - March 20, 2019

Seong Rok Seo

Rimm Chae is a troubadour who sings nature. Dense forests, silent ponds, andcrepuscular evening scenery are present in her works. Wild flowers, shyly peeking out can also be seen. A friendly nod and kiss with the wild flowers, whispers from the forest fill the screen. The artist recites the song of nature and introduces her companions like Orpheus, who affected the plants and animals.

The main motif for Rimm Chae’s works consists of nature, such as trees and forest. The artist creates unique landscapes using Korean lacquer, mother-of-pearl, and silver, instead of a brush and paint. Rimm Chae, who enjoys forests and trees, was inspired by Claude Monet’s Giverny garden. This garden, designed and cultivated by Monet, is widely known as the location for Monet’s immortal masterpiece, Water Lily. Monet’s works serenely encompasses the quiet ambience of the forest, including flowers and fruits. If Western Modern paintings with nature as motif ‘assign subjects’ or are ‘self-projective,’ Rimm Chae’s works show clear contrast, by avoiding excessive intervention of subjectivity, and capturing the ‘pure vitality’ from the ‘musing forest.’

Walking in the forest
Ottchil (Korean lacquer), Hemp cloth
Mother-of-pearl, Silver on wood

Walking in the Forest

Images of plants are prominent in Rimm Chae’s works. Obscure lines, unknown whether they are vines, leaves or tree branches, intersect, tangle, overlap, and slip with each other and make various expressions. The floating images of ecology decorate the screen and expand like vines. It starts miniscule, but gradually widens, and ultimately transforms into an enormous flow. This is clearly shown in Walking in the Forest (2014-2017), which embodies arcane scenery of the forest. This work started as 7 pieces, then increased into 9, 13, and drastically into 17 pieces for this exhibition in Hakgojae Gallery. Once the pieces are placed together, they create an illusion to the audience, as if they are in an uninhabited, deep forest. The breeze brushing through leaves, dense fragrance, solitary aura, and refreshing air of the forest caress the audience.
However, we are astonished by the fact that Rimm Chae’s works are created with traditional craft techniques, not with paint. The artist prepares her surface by applying numerous layers of lacquer, and creates textures of tree barks with silver to embody picturesque images of the forest.

Rimm Chae’s background in jewelry design probably had some effect on her usage of lacquer instead of oil paint, but her persistence to emphasize unique qualities of lacquer had the most impact. The work process of lacquer painting is known to be advanced and meticulous, requiring repetitive procedures, such as applying 40 layers to accomplish a perfect surface. Through this process, the artist is able to achieve unique color, sheen, and texture. Lacquer, being sticky and sensitive to temperature, advanced technique is required to manipulate it. I believe this delicate quality rather amplifies Rimm Chae’s passion. The surface, accomplished by laborious processes, demonstrates nature’s beauty with its unique sheen and elegant colors.

The audience experiences the contemplation and muse of the forest, through Rimm Chae’s works. There is nothing more significant than to sing a song for the world, and through that song, present a different view of the world in the present world with constant negative news.

The Place of Tranquility

Rimm Chae’s works invite the audience to a musing place. She does not use images other than plants, and emphasizes the motifs. In other words, Rimm Chae’s screen seems restrained, but through this, shows the potential of communication through ‘tranquility.’ The works in Hakgojae Gallery’s exhibition such as Song of the Wind in the Forest (2016), Spring in My Hometown (2017), Peach Flower, Apricot Flower and Azalea (2015-2017), Pine Tree (2015), Dancing Willows (2017), have this quality. As it is said in Caigentan, the refreshing trait and beauty of wind and flowers may only be mastered by someone who enjoys tranquility, Rimm Chae’s works are tranquil, because she believes life’s delicacy can be felt in the center of a forest, where the wind is subsided and the waters placid. The calm and musing world in Rimm Chae’s works guides the audience to a quiet and still world.
Spring in My Hometown
Ottchil (Korean lacquer), Hemp cloth
Mother-of-pearl, Pearl, Silver on wood

Although ‘tranquility’ is an important part of our lives, we accept endless sounds and noises as a price for the convenience of using modern technology. Here, we agree to Max Picard’s claim, ‘If there is no place for silence in humans, language will become incomplete, separated from the truth and beauty.’ Thomas Merton deemed that the recuperative powers of tranquility does not end by influencing individuals, but ‘is a necessity for the revival of genuine communication.’ Rimm Chae choosing to use this subject in a period infested with noise and flooding speed is significant.

Recently, Rimm Chae has held numerous solo exhibitions not only domestically, but internationally as well, at Princeton Gallery (New Jersey, U.S.), BDMC Gallery (Paris), Able Fine Art Gallery (New York) and more. Chae has also received the ‘Solo Award’ in Artexpo New York, expanding her activity range. This year, she was selected for ‘Start Art Fair,’ supervised by Saatchi Gallery (London), and had the chance to present her works. The artist’s recognition in various stages is not only promulgating the excellence of Korean culture, but demonstrates craft technique’s ability to create magnificent artworks.

While looking at Rimm Chae’s images, it feels as if the veil of sentiments has draped over the worn out everyday life and its busyness.
Rimm Chae’s works accompany the encounter with nature and life, like the delight of meeting a flower in a tranquil place, while walking through a forest. I believe this encounter will present an unexpected ‘bundle of thrill and joy'.

0 개의 댓글