Born in Seoul, South Korea.
Lives and works in Los Angeles since 1988
My mother was an artist(majored in graphic design) and art educator. My father studied physics and worked as an engineer. While growing up in Korea in a Catholic family, I was taught to follow the law and order and to pursue a perfection of skill under Confucianism. Buddhism taught me a way to meditate and contemplate, while Zen showed me how to be spontaneous in every moment of life. Shamanism increased my awareness of a life force behind the visual reality. The immigration to the US in 1988 triggered “the awareness” of my roots and my identity in terms of my way of perceiving, thinking, reasoning and responding to the surroundings.
I have been equally interested in the visual natural phenomena as well as in the invisible natural force behind the visual phenomena. I place myself in the middle of these natural phenomena, seeing itself. The universe witnesses itself through my eye. I see that everything exists in relationship to others. These relationships sustain the universe and form ultimate unity, a self-sustainable living system. A beautiful form with function.
I am the medium to experience our universe. My work is a reflection of my understanding and appreciation for our universe; its interconnectedness; its pattern by self-organizing itself; its unity/wholeness.
Among all, there are two special things to which I’ve been drawn. First, the space/void unoccupied between objects/materials. The second is the light.
During my college years at OTIS Parsons in Los Angeles, I made two trips back to Korea. During the trip, I learned much in depth about “yeobaek” that is an important element in Korean art, culture and life. In painting, yeobaek is the void/unoccupied space. In architecture, yeobaek is the space where activity happens between the walls. In life, yeobaek is a restfulness. In music, yeobaek is silence between sounds or time between notes. I’ve found the same notion of “yeo-baek” in composition 4’ 33” by an American composer, John Cage. This “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence” presents the silence in the environment to the audiences.
-The Void, Light, and Form
In the early 1990s, I began to break away from representation to semi-abstraction. Then, from semi-abstraction to abstraction. By adopting calligraphic marks, the space/yeobaek was presented by movement, direction, speed, weight, rhythm, gravity and energy. I moved away from acrylic paint to water based media – gouache, watercolor, and sumi ink – and I worked on a stainable surface – Korean mulberry paper, commonly known as rice paper. When gouache and other water-based pigment is absorbed by this paper, it allows a similar experience as seeing colors in stained glass by letting the light pass through. With this paper’s translucent quality, I began to use the physical light as one of my media. The surface(Korean mulberry paper) was used to reveal the ground itself, and assimilate the ground with the wholeness of a completed work.
In addition to Korean mulberry paper, I paint on Korean transparent colored silk, “nobang”. It is similar to organza in the west. Multi-layering silk allows more light to be kept between each layer, increasing the saturation of color. It makes possible for the physical light in the environment to interact with the work at the moment a viewer is present. Mixed-media work participates in the ever-changing dynamic moments rather than recording the past. The space/yeobaek is experienced as a series of progressive color field.
Void / Light / Form
Light fills up the void, casting the space.
A void is given form by light.
And I perceive light as a form.
Our universe is the largest form known to us. “Life_Self-organizing” is a series of ongoing works based on how I perceive our universe as the following.
Everything exists in relationship to others: part to whole and whole to parts.
The relationships sustain the universe and form ultimate unity.
The unity comes with the understanding of relationships.
My work is a creative event of relationships that seeks unity and equilibrium.
“Life_Self-organizing”, is about the system/relationship that sustains our universe. This system/relationship is observed in the visual patterns in nature. One of the patterns I’ve been incorporating into my work is crochet. I see mandala in the work of crochet. “Mandala” is a geometric figure representing the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism. Mandala and crochet begin at the center/core at the start of creation/making. At the moment of completion, a monk destroys the mandala. And, another mandala begins again as the cycle is the way life sustains itself. Crochet and mandala consisted of positive and negative space, creates ONE unified space as seen in the symbol of ying and yang. On a personal level, crochet is a symbolic medium, “domesticated mandala” and my homage to the under recognized female labor.
Often, my work begins without a blueprint, a finished plan. Instead, I am focused on the selection of the environment/event/object/location from which I will be influenced and inspired to conceive a new project. I work consciously within all given condition, situation and environment. Creativity is a way to process my reaction/response/interaction to/with the environment/influence.
My interest has no limit and all is a pregnant possibility. However, I’ve always been drawn to the space/void and the light. While “relationship/interconnectedness” guides me with the direction on how to conceive a new project, “space/void and light” have been the means of visual expression of my appreciation for our universe and my consciousness of my existence in this universe.
Pattern / System / Probability
Theses images are from my Pinterest board titled "pattern/system/probability,"
which are the manifested images of the relationship/interconnectedness that sustains our universe.