Artist Statement

 I started designing jewelry in 2000, with the ambition of creating “Wearable Art.” However I had always longed for an outlet to further express my creativity. Adding my experience of 20 years as a jewelry designer to the traditional art of lacquer, I started creating “sculptural 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.’

 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. By using not only mother-of-pearl but also different precious stones such as traditional gemstones (such as coral, amber, jade, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye), pearls, turquoise, my art represents the meeting point between painting and sculpture, conceptualism and realism.
 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.

 Working with traditional precious materials such as lacquer and mother-of-pearl, which both date back to traditional times, I have felt that my work embodies both the past and present. It excites me greatly to imagine how these two different genres will further collaborate in the future.