오관진 초대展



달항아리 작가 오관진 뉴욕 초대전

- Emptying and Filling -





2023. 1. 3(화) ▶ 2023. 1. 20(금)

Opening Reception 2023. 1. 3(화) pm 6-8

31 E 72nd St. New York, NY 10021



비움과 채움(복을담다)_73x73cm_한지에 혼합재료_2020



Kwan Jin Oh, Emptying and Filling. Courtesy of Kate Oh Gallery


The “moon jar” is a distinctive type of porcelain vessel from the late Joseon period (1392- 1897). The moon jar (viz., dalhangari) is so called due of its form, which was traditionally made by adjoining two hemispherical halves. The joined halves often come to evoke full moons themselves, beaming and blossoming into a mereological whole more sumptuous than their disparate pieces. Kwan Jin Oh's "Emptying and Filling", brimming with paintings of moon jars, is unique for myriad reasons, not least of all the jars’ speckled, toothed chips of paint. This is a notable painterly technique worthy of some analysis à la art history. Consider the extant 16th century Cranach workshop renderings of the Judgment of Paris, each of which similarly contain such ripples of dappled paint squaresㅡthese have been earned over time, with art restorers choosing to allow the works to age, chronicling their years. When we look at such works, we are immediately, affectively, and resolutely aware of their status as aged vehicles. But Oh’s paintings, themselves, are new, the earliest painting in this series from 2017. This being a painterly penchant to impute the adorned vessels with a kind of wisdom beyond the medium’s intrinsic nature, Oh has chosen to remind us that the moon jars are relics. The ceramic jars are alighted with life: they appear to swell and heave in these paintings. The vessels are truly expertly painted, the blush-auburn handles adumbrated against a flat, light-teal foreground. Oh also employs myriad techniques in his works, bringing representational figuration into conversation with abstraction. An impressionistically painted series of bright, pink buds swoop in serpentine fashion, a charcoal-dotted branch disappearing against a bright white orb to the upper right of the canvas. The moon metaphor is here doubled, but stylistically the artist has chosen to give us dimensionality on the one hand and flatness on the other. Oh’s use of flatness against veridical dimensionality truly distinguishes him from contemporaries who so often veer from poetic whimsy and indulgence.


The moon jars threaten to jump out of the canvas, almost photo-realistically painted. There is no question that Oh has proven himself as a talented artist, beyond capable of producing verisimilitude. Hence why going beyond mere studies of jars and artifacts into poetry is the next challenge, and one that the artist meets with fortitude. In one of my very favorite works, two azure birds are perched on the base of the ceramic piece, a twig branching out, their beaks folding into one another. The birds appear to be at play. This could almost be a study of birds copied from nature, as the details of every element are incisively captured. But then the birds are refracted onto the cracked moon’s sun-lit body, prodding us out of the world of figuration and into the media-at-hand: the world of the vessel. For it is, indeed, the vessel that is the central motif in Oh’s works, and these vessels are where the aforementioned cracks and teethed tatters ripple. This repeated choice to return to the being of the vessel means that Oh is not feigning aged paintings beyond their years, imitating the wilting of 16th century Cranachs, but examining how artifacts’ being aged anchors their historical sonority. Just as figuration and abstraction are dovetailed, antiquities and contemporary motifs are brought into a mutual relation.



비움과 채움(복을담다)_137x70.5cm_한지에 혼합재료_2021



In his recent excellent New York Review of Books review, "Between Abstraction and Representation", Jed Perl, by my lights one of the numbered genuinely brilliant living art critics, notes that artists like Julie Mehretu have recently attempted to bring elements of abstraction into play with figurative elements, albeit without committing to either mode with vigor. Often, any meaning such “abstract-cum-figurative” works impute requires exegetical interventionㅡperhaps a title which tells us that Mehretu's squares are stand-ins for "squares where political confrontations have taken place, including Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Red Square in Moscow, Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, and Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, where she [Mehretu] was born and spent her earliest years." Mehretu tell us that her paintings are architectural surveys that pluck from both the great masters of figuration and the twentieth century bulwarks of abstraction but, like Perl, I find myself lost in navigating their meaning. Granted, painting need not always articulate meaning as suchㅡsometimes, the success of a painting subsists on a somatic, affective, phenomenological register. But worse yet, I find myself unaffected by Mehretu’s works, which I find close cousins of what Walter Robinson famously called “zombie formalist” paintingㅡi.e., abstract paintings churned out alongside a coeval over-eager art market. Robinson describes “zombie formalist” paintings as follows:


"Formalism” because this art involves a straightforward, reductive, essentialist method of making a painting (yes, I admit it, I’m hung up on painting), and “Zombie” because it brings back to life the discarded aesthetics of Clement Greenberg, the man who championed Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis, and Frank Stella’s “black paintings,” among other things.



비움과 채움(복을담다)_한지, 금박에 혼합재료_2022



However, I disagree that it is Greenbergian medium-specificity that is revived, for Greenbergㅡcontra the (mis)readings unspooled by the likes of Krauss, Fried, and Fer, amongst othersㅡis genuinely a theorist of the affective, as evinced by Greenberg’s notion of “at-onceness”, outlined in “The Case for Abstract Art” (1959). Greenberg here writes:


When a picture presents us with an illusion of real space, there is all the more inducement for the eye to do […] wandering […] the whole of a picture should be taken in at a glance; its unity should be immediately evident, and the supreme quality of a picture, the highest measure of its power to move and control the visual imagination, should reside in its unity. And this is something to be grasped only in an indivisible instant of time. No expectancy is involved in the true and pertinent experience of a painting; a picture […] does not "come out" the way a story, or a poem, or a piece of music does. It's all there at once, like a sudden revelation. This "at-onceness" an abstract picture usually drives home to us with greater singleness and clarity than a representational painting does. And to apprehend this "at-onceness" demands a freedom of mind and untrammeled of eye that constitute "at-onceness" in their own right. Those who have grown capable of experiencing this know what I mean. You are summoned and gathered into one point in the continuum of duration. The picture does this to you, willy-nilly, regardless of whatever else is on your mind; a mere glance at it creates the attitude required for its appreciation, like a stimulus that elicits an automatic response. You become all attention, which means that you become for the moment selfless and in a sense entirely identified with the object of your attention. The "at-onceness" which a picture or a piece of sculpture enforces on you is not, however, single or isolated. It can be repeated in a succession of instants, in each one remaining an "at-onceness"ㅡan instant all by itself. For the cultivated eye the picture repeats its instantaneous unity like a mouth repeating a single word.



비움과 채움(복을담다)_한지에 혼합재료_2022



Although Greenberg strikes an arbitrary distinction between abstract artworks and figurative artworks in this essay, abstract representations are here taken to stand in an intentional relationship to our automatic emotional responses, where the latter are embodied appraisals initiated prior to subsequent cognitive monitoring. Insofar as Greenberg is uniquely concerned with the abstract artwork, the evoked emotions are in continuity with the properties of the medium’s formal content. Greenberg distinguishes abstract painting and its reified representational substratum on the basis of abstract painting driving home its “at-onceness”ㅡi.e., the stimulus-response that elicits an “automatic”, all-encompassing, selfless sense of identification with the object of our attention. Nevertheless, suspicious readers may take this somatic description to be something of an outlier in Greenberg’s thinking. However, in his 1960s notes from “How Art is Acquired”, Greenberg reinforces this point by underscoring the “surrendering” of “attention” that accompanies our apprehension of “authentic art”. (This reading of Greenbergian affectivity is brilliantly captured in Daniel Neofetou’s recent book, Rereading Abstract Expressionism, Clement Greenberg and the Cold War (2021), which I cannot recommend highly enough). Rather, and I do think Robinson is on to something, “zombie formalist” artworks lack the authenticity that is indexed by the somatic response that the great abstractionists of yore (viz., Malevich, Kandinsky, Mondrian, van Doesburg, the Helhesten/CoBrA artists, Hofmann, Gottlieb, Rothko, Pollock, Still, Lewis, Delaney, Krasner, Motherwell, Newman, Frankethaler, to name just a few)ㅡinvited. I shan’t name any names, but there is an unfortunate veering towards flatness and tepidness in much of the abstraction of the past fifty years, with notable exceptions like the late, great French Stygianist Pierre Soulages. This is met by an unfortunate turn towards figuration, recently baptized “New Figuration”, which trades solely on the exhibition-value of the artists’ identity, betraying the autonomy from heteronomy that Trotsky, Rosenberg, and Adorno all recognized.


All of this brings me back to Kwan Jin Oh. Oh is not an abstractionist, proper. Nor if such a figurative artist, proper. That he has not committed to either camp in full is all for the better. Oh makes use of abstraction, in continuity with figuration, bringing elements of both into a latticework that is affectively effective. The affective response I feel from these paintings is, granted, quiet, but is a low, sustained rumbleㅡa peaceful prodding and humming that invokes the very poetry that these aged moon jar vessels, so craftily plucked and imprinted, croon. This shows that there can indeed be a melodious act of intertwining abstraction and figuration. In this case, it is songlike.


Text by Ekin Erkan



2022년 전시전경





Kate Oh Gallery

31E 72nd Street New York NY 10021


오관진 | OH KWAN JIN | 吳官鎭


계원예술고등학교졸업, 홍익대학교 및 동국대 대학원졸업


개인전 | 35회 | New York Kate Oh Gallery 3회 초대전 | 북촌 한옥센터 | 갤러리 두 초대전 | 호텔28갤러리 초대전 | 갤러리 쿱 3회 초대전 | 갤러리 마레 초대전 | 박영갤러리 초대전 | 프랑스 대한민국 문화원 (파리) | 베컨갤러리초대전 (IBK한남동PB센터) | 갤러리포스초대전 | 장은선갤러리 초대전 | 한원미술관 초대전 | 알토아트페어부산 (분산센텀호텔) | 매경-오픈옥션선정작가전 (매일경제본사) | 명동갤러리초대전| 예술의전당 6회 | 단원미술관 | 파리라데팡스 (신개선문) | 일본동경 | 화지갤러리초대전 | 종로갤러리 2회 초대전 | 라메르갤러리 초대전 | 관훈갤러리 | 한선갤러리 | 시립미술관 | 공평갤러리 초대전 | 벽강갤러리 초대전


그룹전 | 키아프 | 소아프 | 베트남 아트페어 | 싱가폴 아트페어 | 마이에미 아트페어 | 미국 뉴욕 국제아트페어 | 이스탄불아트페어 | 대구아트페어 | 마니프 국제아트페어 | 화랑미술제 및 국제 교류전 260여회


수상 | 대한민국미술대전 특선 | 한국미술대전 우수상 | 마니프상 | 국제선면전 일본 장려상 | 아시아 미술대전 대상 | 경향하우징아트페어 대상


작품소장 | 오쿠라호텔(마카오) | 프랑스 한국문화원 | 국립현대미술관 | SK그룹 | 동양제철화학그룹 (OCI) | 파라다이스호텔그룹 | 국회의사당 | 호주 RMIT 대학교 | 싱가폴 SOTA국제학교 | 경기도박물관 | 마재성지본당 | 한원미술관 | 수원대학교 | 고은미술관 | 동경화지갤러리 | 공평갤러리 | 라메르갤러리 | 갤러리마레 | 한일 스틸 | 박영갤러리 | 명동갤러리 | 병원 및 기업체 | 개인 다수 소장


콜라보 | 삼성생명 | 아모레퍼시픽 | 한국인삼공사


TV 방송사 드라마 협찬 | 2011년 KBS-1TV 낭독의 발견 추석특집 우주인 이소연씨와 출연 | 달과 달항아리에 대한 이야기 나눔 (1시간) | 2012년 SBS TV 주말드라마 '맛있는 인생' (임채무, 예지원) | 2013년 SBS TV 수목 드라마 '그겨울 바람이 분다 (조인성, 성혜교, 김범, 배종옥) | 2013년 SBS TV 주말드라마 '돈의 화신' (강지환, 박상민, 황정음) | 2013년 SBS TV 아침드라마 '당신의 여자' (이유리, 박윤재, 임호) | 2013년 SBS TV 수목 드라마 '내연에의 모든 것' (신하균, 이민정, 박희순) | 2013년 SBS TV 주말드라마 '결혼의 여신' (남상미, 조민수, 김지훈, 이상우, 이태란) | 2013년 SBS TV 월화드라마 '황금의 제국' (고수, 이요원, 손현주, 장신영) | 2013년 KBS TV 월금드라마 '루비반지' (이소연, 김석훈, 임정은, 정애리, 박광현) | 2013년 KBS TV 월화드라마 '총리와나' (이범수, 윤아, 윤시윤, 채정안, 류진) | 2014년 KBS TV 월화드라마 '태양은 가득히' (윤계상, 한지혜, 조진웅) | 2014년 KBS TV 주말드라마 '참좋은 시절' (이서진, 김희선, 김지호) | 2014년 SBS TV 월화드라마 '신의 선물' (조승우, 이보영, 김태우, 정겨운) | 2014년 SBS TV 주말드라마 '끝없는 사랑' (황정음, 류수영, 정경호, 차인표) | 2014년 KBS TV 월금드라마 '고양이는 있다' (최윤영, 현우, 최민, 전효성, 독고영재) | 2014년 KBS TV 금토드라마 '프로듀사' (김수현, 공효진, 차태현) | 2015년 SBS TV 월금드라마 '돌아온 황금복 (심혜진, 전미선, 전노민, 이혜숙, 신다은) | 2015년 SBS TV 월금 아침 드라마 '어머님는 내며느리 (김혜리, 문보령, 이용준, 오영실) | 2015~2016년 MBC TV '내딸 금사월 (백진희, 전인화, 손지창) | 2016년 TVN '치즈인더트랩' (박해진, 김고은, 서강준, 이선경) | 2016년 KBS2 TV '태양의 후예' (송중기, 송혜교) | 2016년 SBS TV 월금드라마 '사랑이오네요' (김지영, 고세훈, 나선영, 이훈) | 2017년 SBS TV '귓속말' (이상윤, 이보영) | 2017년 KSB2 TV '쌈마이웨이 (박서준, 김지원, 안재홍) | 2017년 KSB2 TV '란제리 소녀시대' (보나, 채서진, 서영주) | 2017년 SBS TV '달콤한 원수' (박은혜, 유건, 이재우) | 2019년 SBS TV '수상한 장모' (김혜선, 신다은, 박진우) | 2021년 TVN TV '간떨어지는 동거' (장기용, 혜리, 강한나)


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vol.20230103-오관진 초대展