ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts is proud to present the second solo exhibition of the gallery artist Yooah Park. This exhibition showcases the many facets of her recent work, as she takes her signature fusion of inherited Asian art forms and Western abstraction in excitingly new directions.

 

Park’s new work represents an imaginative leap forward, but this flowering is rooted in her understanding of traditional techniques. Trained as a brush painter, she is extending the gestural language of calligraphy into unexpected forms and mediums. In a suite of 100 small, square paintings Park abandons the brush; instead she finger paints directly onto the translucent, skin-like fabric of liquid vinyl, with the visceral intensity of an abstract Expressionist.

 

Her blood-red medium is Inju, concocted from cinnabar, perilla oil and cotton. The color and viscosity of the medium allude to sealing wax, colophon signatures and Gyong-myon-ju-sa, the red mineral pigment used in Korean Bujeok, talismans fashioned to ward off evil spirits. The mix of cinnabar, mercury and sulfur in Gyong-myon-ju-sa represents a balance between positive and negative forces. The delicate and potentially dangerous ritual of mixing diverse elements lives at the root of the ancient mystical science of alchemy.

 

Ceramics have historically been an integral part of Korean culture. For the current exhibition, Park has hand shaped 13 monumental porcelain rice bowls, symbols of renewal and vitality. These majestic vessels – 32 ½ inches in diameter, 14 ½ inches tall – engulf the exhibition space, but the delicacy of the celadon glaze makes them seem weightless. It is as if the free spirit within the clay had been liberated. The gentle irregularities of the bowls are eloquent reminders of the casting process in which dynamic natural forces are guided by the artist’s shaping hand and eye.

 

Yooah Park was born in Seoul, Korea and currently works and resides in New York City. She has exhibited extensively abroad, including Seoul, Paris, New York, Beijing, and Tokyo. Her largest exhibition “Writing in the Void” was shown at the Center for Architecture and Design in Mexico City and at the Central House of Artists Museum in Moscow. Several of her works are also in international art museum collections.

YOOAH PARK

Solo exhibition

March 7 – March 29, 2008

 

Opening Reception

6-8PM, Friday March 7

 

 

Yooah Park combines the aesthetic traditions of her native Korea with twenty-first century global technologies. This exhibition showcases the many facets of her recent work, as she takes her signature fusion of inherited Asian art forms and Western abstraction in excitingly new directions.

 

Ceramics have historically been an integral part of Korean culture. In 2004, ZONE presented Park’s 63 Cubes, heavy, solid forms in an elegiac matte charcoal color that alluded to temple tiles and funeral rites. For the current exhibition, Park has hand shaped thirteen monumental porcelain rice bowls, symbols of renewal and vitality. These majestic vessels – 32 ½ inches in diameter, 14 ½ inches tall – engulf the exhibition space, but the delicacy of the celadon glaze which is the color of a lunar moth’s wings, makes them seem weightless. It is as if the free spirit within the clay had been liberated. The gentle irregularities of the bowls are eloquent reminders of the casting process in which dynamic natural forces are guided by the artist’s shaping hand and eye.

 

Park’s new work represents an imaginative leap forward, but this flowering is rooted in her understanding of traditional techniques. Trained as a brush painter, she is extending the gestural language of calligraphy into unexpected forms and mediums. She laser-cuts brushstroke characters out of aluminum, then, suspends them as mobiles in an installation of cascading columns. Paper-thin, reflective and dangerously sharp-edged, they slice through the air with the physical energy of Action painting and the cool clarity of twenty-first century techno-modernism. She has freed calligraphy from the two dimensions of paper and ink and given writing a precarious sculptural identity of kinetic art.

 

The riff on calligraphy continues with a suite of 200 small, square paintings. Liquid vinyl, a synthetic material used by contemporary fashion houses, provides the non-traditional support. Park abandons the brush; instead she finger paints directly onto the translucent, skin-like fabric, with the visceral intensity of an abstract Expressionist. Her blood-red medium is Inju, concocted from cinnabar, perilla oil and cotton. The color and viscosity of the medium allude to sealing wax, colophon signatures and Gyong-myon-ju-sa, the red mineral pigment used in Korean Bujeok, talismans fashioned to ward off evil spirits. The mix of cinnabar, mercury and sulfur in Gyong-myon-ju-sa represents a balance between positive and negative forces. The delicate and potentially dangerous ritual of mixing diverse elements lives at the root of the ancient mystical science of alchemy.

 

Metamorphosis results when traditional knowledge is combined with a bold spirit of experimentation. Park’s sequence of red paintings constitutes both a personal diary and a record of the creative process. The goal of true alchemy, the philosopher’s stone that turns base material into gold, is the process that leads to self-understanding. Park breathes new life into raw materials – clay, pigment, metal, synthetic – through the incantatory power of words and gestures.

 

– Dr. Jennifer Baahng

Yooah Park currently resides in the New York area, but frequently travels to her native Korea. For years she has studied and traveled between the two places, and her artwork reflects this dual identification. At first glance, the use of black ink and brush on handmade paper in a free and gestural manner belie the artist’s Asian background, but there is a decidedly Western element here that is less obvious. Park’s paintings are characterized by a lyrical sense of movement. This is related to the artist’s practice of painting from a live dancer performing in her studio, so that her paintings might have a greater quality of flowing grace. This art, therefore, which some would link to an Asian tradition of brush calligraphy, is also intimately connected with the study of the human form that has preoccupied Western art since the Renaissance.

Yooah Park’s pieces are filled with forms that seem to tumble and glide beyond the frame into an infinite space established by the diaphanous layers of carefully-laid paper. This is a space first articulated by the American canvas painters of the postwar New York school; Park brings it forth here through the use of materials with centuries of Asian heritage.

In today’s art world there is much talk of “bridging East and West.” Rarely do we see a vision that accomplishes such an integration. Neither Asian nor American, but rather a joyous fusion of the two, the art of Yooah Park succeeds as a new synthesis of aesthetic strengths from both spheres.

Solo Exhibitions

2006     Writing in the Void

            The Central House of Artists Museum, Moscow, Russia

            The Center for Architecture and Design, Mexico City, Mexico

2004     ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts, NY

2003     Gana Insa Art Center, Seoul

2002     Gana Insa Art Center, Seoul

2001     Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago

2000     Hudson River Gallery, NY

1999     Jean Art Gallery, Seoul

1998     Space Untitled, NY

1997     Shirota Gallery, Tokyo

Gallery Bhak, Seoul

1996     Gallery Simon, Seoul

MANlF Seoul International Art Fair, Seoul

MAC 2000, Paris

1995     Seorim Gallery, Seoul

Gallery Ihn, Seoul

’95 Seoul Art Fair (J&C Gallery), Seoul

1994     East-West Cultural Studies, NY

’94 Seoul Art Fair (J&C Gallery), Seoul

1993     Sampoong Gallery, Seoul

1990     Jadite Galleries, NY

 Selected Group Exhibitions

2007     ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts, New York, NY

2006     ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts, New York, NY

2004     Korean Contemporary Art,

Forum Gallery, Dallas, TX

2003     Best Star, Best Artist,

Gana Insa Art Center, Seoul

2002     KCAF, Seoul, Korea

Works on Paper, New York

Art of Pacific Asia, New York

2001     KCAF, Seoul, Korea

Works on Paper, New York

Art of Pacific Asia, New York

Kwangju International Ceramic Expo,

Kwangju, Korea

2000     ACAF, Sydney, Australia

Art Miami, Miami, FL

Works on Paper, New York

Art of Pacific Asia, New York

1999     NICAF, Tokyo, Japan

ACAF, Sydney, Australia

Works on Paper, New York

Art of Pacific Asia, New York

1998     NICAF, Tokyo, Japan

SIAF, Seoul, Korea

Art Miami, Miami, FL

1997     NICAF, Tokyo, Japan

            MANIF, Seoul, Korea

SIAF, Seoul, Korea

1996     MANIF, Seoul, Korea

SIAF, Seoul, Korea

 

Related:
Yooah Park, installation view

Yooah Park: “Communion | Constellation”

at Galleria Multigraphic, Venice, Italy on the occasion of the 53rd Venice Biennale
June 5 - June 19, 2009
Yooah Park, installation view

Yooah Park: “Writing in the Void”

at The Central House of Artists Museum, Moscow and Center for Architecture and Design, Mexico City
June 28 - July 3, 2006 and August 10 - September 4, 2006

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