Rising in the voids
허공에 차오르기1 Rising in the voids1_acrylic on canvas_260.6x324.4cm_2023
2023. 7. 6(목) ▶ 2023. 8. 5(토)
서울특별시 종로구 평창동 509-13 | T.02-3448-2112
계절을 토해 내는 숲 The forest vomits the season_acrylic on canvas_130.3x162.2cm_2022
Juae Park regards her work as an embodiment of her personal struggles and wants. Throughout her life, she has turned such experiences into motifs for her artwork. Her previous works of cotton-stuffed canvas dolls depicting people she missed motivated by feelings of loneliness and alienation during temporary stays abroad. Her yearning for childbearing and motherhood inspired her ceramic works, which manifest this sentiment in a totemic form. Park has always been unreservedly open about her personal concerns, expressed across media and genres. Learning to work with and express herself through unfamiliar media and genres became a path for inspiration and means to overcome many of her concerns. In the beginning, Park was hesitant about painting. She was unsure. She kept it hidden.
The personal journey she undertook to overcome that fear culminates in this exhibition, which captures the artist\'s relentless exploration of her surroundings. She describes her effort to that of a wild canine, hounding for a scent. Her perusal for meaning led her to the forest. It was an instinctive decision, and she was drawn to the Jeju Gotjawal Park, where she wandered about. The geography of the area is distinct with irregular rock formations created by ancient volcanic and seismic activity now overgrown with moss and flora. The land itself does not lend itself to cultivation, but this has allowed a unique ecosystem of diverse plants and animals to flourish. The artist was fascinated by the verdant vitality and the flourish within the nature’s chaotic state, especially by the cascade of vines and the tenacious cling of rock moss.
Observing the vibrant yet chaotic Gotjawal, Park realized she was not much different. She too, was filled with complicated and unorganized thoughts and a strong desire to add a layer--painting--upon a surface. Perhaps such echoes can be traced back to her tie to the island. After all, it was the island where she was birthed and raised. Describing the nature of her upbringing was to a large extent an expression of herself. The lines and forms from nature were not immediately painterly. Park approaches nature through three-dimensional work. She shaped wires into the form of common vines found in Gotjawal, bent them into shape and hand-stitched fabric to form leaves. As she envisions those vines and leaves unfurl and sprawl into the exhibition space, she also transfers the imagery unto the canvas.
숲의 양막1 The amniotic membrane of the forest1_acrylic on canvas_130.3x162.2cm_2023
The intricately intertwined vines on canvas screen reflect the artist’s wandering uncertainty. At first, the shapes of vines and moss mushrooms were combined with the human body to express nature metaphorically. Flowing and The Trees Emit the Seasons were nature paintings in that regard. Whatever form was given to the trees by nature, she transferred unto canvas, describing it as “a process of allowing nature to guide my painting”. The screen is dense with blacks, blues, and greens. The dark and watery tones reflect the dark and damp ambiance of Gotjawal where trees and vines grow dense enough to subdue light.
Plants then taken on an abbreviated form and the composition presents a subject (likely a person) amidst nature. Rising in the Voids is an apt representation of those later works. This large painting consists of 4 No.100 canvases, filling the screen with dark, organic lines and creatures--metaphors of Gotjawal. These life forms, most of them apparently headed somewhere actively, while others appear to have fallen or in a state of dissolution. They are passing reflections of the artist’s inner state while painting: frantic, frustrated, crestfallen, exhausted, then diligently focused and directional. If paintings had clear destinations, none would wander before the canvas. The artist is simply struggling.
Testimony is how Juae Park describes her work. She neither attempts to correct nor hide her shortcomings, instead, she candidly shares them as a demonstration of determination, and perhaps, of faith. She is nonchalant about the statement, as she seems free of format and style. The only guiding principle here is authenticity. The artist shares that there is something to be said about sheer commitment, which can transcend any need for self-correction and hiding of shortcomings. To her, the work is always a process of transforming her troubles and wants into something more tangible and material. Through it, she finds positive perspectives and solutions, and no matter how subversive the situations in life, the candidness of her paintings will resonate and comfort others. Forward and throughward is key in moments of uncertainty and despair.
Boiling1_acrylic on canvas_117.3x91.5cm_2023
허공의 냄새 The smell of the air_acrylic on canvas_80.5x117.5cm_2023