Artist Statement

I have been creating “sculptural painting” based on the use of ottchil, or Korean lacquer, and mother-of-pearl. I also demonstrate the novel potential of ottchil as pure fine art through her lacquer landscape paintings. 

In his critique of ‘Through the Light of the Forest’, Robert C. Morgan mentioned that “As a technique indigenous to Korean art, the resulting surface ultimately reveals a beatific resonance of silent, glimmering beauty.” This embodies the notion of ‘motion amidst rest.’

My creations explore a new sculptural language by utilizing modern jewelry as objets d'art on lacquered panels as well as native Korean materials, such as sambe (Korean hemp cloth) and hanji (Korean traditional paper). This attempt is not only an aesthetic achievement resulting from delicate attention to landscapes but also the result of efforts to reproduce Korean imagery using a contemporary sculptural language. While the traditional najeonchilgi technique involves attaching the mother-of-pearl to the surface with a hot iron, my work pursues a unique form of beauty, which is created by setting the mother-of-pearls onto a lacquered canvas with silver prongs. Thus, each piece created is both flat and voluminous, traditional and contemporary, painting-like and sculptural all at the same time. 
Previously, my work has taken the form of “sculptural paintings,” bringing both painting and sculpture together into one. However, more recently I have started to take the opposite approach by deconstructing and separating these two genres in my art. While my previous work focused on the traditional smooth finish of the lacquer, some of my more recent work focuses more on color and texture. Although my work is based on traditional Korean lacquer paintings, the bold use of color and repetition of points and lines bring these paintings closer to Western art.

For the past few years, I have been working on ‘Arirang Cantabile,’ a series of artwork that captures various Korean landscapes including Jeju Island, Yeosu, and the south coast of the peninsula. My work embraces both the real and the abstract, as well as techniques from both the eastern and western worlds. The rich imagery and metaphors embodied within my artwork brings its viewers into a sentimental world of past memories.

In my creations, oriental philosophical conceptualizations concerning, for instance, relationships in life, circulatory connections in nature, and harmony between humans and nature, are brought closer through vivid hues and simplified depictions of landscapes. My language of colors, which is also uniquely Korean, embraces visual sensibilities and deep contemplation, creating scenery that delivers varying messages of aspiration.