by - November 28, 2023

 Rimm Chae is participating in ART TAIPEI 2023, the international art fair’s 30th edition, with Gallery THEO. At this year’s event, she is presenting both her In the Midst of Life series, which reflects colors and light from nature through vivid ottchil (Korean lacquer), and Mountains and Islands, which highlights the repetitive process involved in ottchil art.

From an outside perspective, nature seems to lack order. However, there are, in fact, fascinating and beautiful patterns within it, which emerge repeatedly as a result of a certain set of guiding principles. Ottchil requires the repetitive applying, hardening, scraping off, and reapplying of color, a process that is imbued with the spiritual values of Korea such as gwanjo (contemplation), muwijayeon (nature as it is), and jeongjungdong (movement in silence, silence in movement). 

Rimm Chae’s In the Midst of Life series highlights expressiveness by translating motifs from nature through layers of Korean colors and lines. The artist separates the colors used in dancheong (traditional Korean design and coloring on wooden buildings), saekdong (multi-colored stripes), and jogakbo (Korean patchwork) to create metaphors for nostalgia hidden behind the vivid colors of traditional elements. Unlike the vast spectrum of colors in In the Midst of Life, its composition is rather simple, encouraging viewers to meditate on the work. Landscapes in which the sky appears as if it is the sea or vice versa and the horizon stretches infinitely though seemingly empty resonate silently among us.

Chae explores various methods of artistic expression to deliver the beauty of living and moving (giwunsaengdong) nature in a refined manner. Colors continually inspire her artistic practice, and they also serve as expressive elements that reveal our minds and thoughts explicitly. The artist mixes ottchil in shades of pink that vary in brightness and saturation to transfer the colors and light of nature warmly and vibrantly. Some shades resemble the sky glowing at sunset, while others remind us of flower beds in the spring or the sea’s surface dyed with the hues of the setting sun. The light or subtle tones of pink offer a sense of comfort, while the vivid, dark shades of pink evoke pleasant memories. Alongside yellow, ivory, and orange, the color pink leaves us with a dreamy and fantastic “pink landscape.” 

For ART TAIPEI 2023, Chae is also unveiling a new edition in her In the Midst of Life series, through which she has focused on different spectra of blue and harmoniously incorporated landscapes from reality and landscapes of our inner minds.
By adding ottchil layers to a simple composition, she highlights the traditional aesthetic elements of Korea such as line, color, and margin, as well as reflecting a sense of lyricism to the matière of the work with sfumato and impasto techniques used in Western painting. The variation of color that demonstrates both the convergence and independence of blue tones, the unique matière and sensuous margins, and the repeated brushstrokes that build layers on the surface of the image all spring from the aesthetic materialization of natural principles.
This work, where the figurative and abstract elements of nature coexist, is based on an artistic perspective rooted in Western technique and East Asian philosophy of nature. The work’s composition shows a single point perspective centered around a line, but overlapping shades of blue with different levels of saturation and brightness move as though they are static or remain still as though they are in motion. The depth and weight created by the blue matière offer the experience of “silence in movement (dongjungjeong)” and “movement in silence (jeongjungdong).

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