Korean Cultural Center Presents Leeah Joo, Youn-kyung Cho, and Kyoung-Hye Han The Moment: Nature, Life, and Re-creation

By Editorial Team on February 3, 2020

Fri, 07 February 2020 - Tue, 25 February 2020

Courtesy of the Korean Cultural Center.
Opening Reception: Friday, February 7 at 6pm

Free RSVP to the opening reception at https://washingtondc.korean-culture.org

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents The Moment: Nature, Life and Re-creation, the year’s first exhibition and the first drawn from the center’s 2020 Open Call for Artists, showcasing more than 25 works by three contemporary Korean artists who reflect on the inherent connection between creation and destruction in the natural world: Leeah Joo, Youn-kyung Cho, and Kyoung-Hye Han.

Employing diverse artistic media and stylistic approaches including oil painting, fiber craft, and traditional ink brushwork on Korean Hanji paper, Joo, Cho, and Han bring their unique stories and ideas to the central themes of regeneration, life as a cycle, and the perspective shifts that understanding these ongoing processes can bring about. Audiences will have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of nature in their own lives, especially in contrast to a rapid-pace modern society in which precious moments rarely last.

Leeah Joo explores a wide range of subjects in her oil painting art work, including history, culture, ideas, and human life, by harmoniously blending the flowing surface of fabrics with symbolic features of nature. The geometric yet organic structure created by the folds of colorful fabric at the center of each work reveal symmetry with the natural landscape, such as mountain peaks, waves, and even wind. Joo also captures the tiger, crane, and clouds—important symbolic pattern and object motifs in Korean traditional folk paintings—to recreate her own form of contemporary folk tale paintings.

Youn-kyung Cho envisions nature as a constant repetition of generation and extinction and adapts this cyclical notion to create her new form of fiber craft works. Her artwork conveys these natural circulatory processes by combining traditional and modern materials, techniques, and structures. She repurposes the long fiber tissues from Korean mulberry trees (traditionally used to create durable paper) into semi-three-dimensional contemporary crafts that incorporate rope, string, and wire mesh, over which lacquer, gold leaf, and acrylic colors are applied. The organic and natural shapes that result reveal the visual language of nature’s circulation present in all things, capturing a moment in time.

Kyoung-Hye Han is a painter who bowed 1000 times a day as part of overcoming her physical disability of cerebral palsy. During this process, which required great patience and endurance, she became particularly interested in the theme of nature and life underwater. Water plays an important role in her delicately colored ink brush paintings as the implied source of the depth and faint colors. Different types of stones and multifarious creatures cluster together on the surface in this submerged environment, reflecting how human beings exist within mother nature. Han captures a moment in the life of this underwater landscape that crosses the boundary between artistic representation and abstraction.

Admission to the exhibition opening reception featuring talks by the artists on Friday, February 7 at 6:00 p.m. is free and open to the public, but registration is required at https://washingtondc.korean-culture.orgThe Moment: Nature, Life, and Re-creation will remain on view during regular hours through February 25, 2020.

About the Artist
Leeah Joo is a painter and educator based in Connecticut. She received her BFA in Painting and BA in Art History from Indiana University in Bloomington and her MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art. For 25 years, she has exhibited her work throughout the United States and Korea, including in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and at the Seoul Art Center in Korea. She is the recipient of visual arts awards and grants, including from Pollock-Krasner, Puffin, and the George Sugarman Foundation, as well as twice receiving a Connecticut Artist Fellowship.

Youn-kyung Cho is an artist based in Korea where she received her MFA in Fabric Design from Ewha Womans University. She has participated in various solo and group exhibitions including the 2018 Tannan Art Festival in Japan, Art Factory, Topohaus, the Craft Trend Fair in Korea, and the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair in Chicago. Cho was selected as a 2019 Artist by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation and was selected as a resident artist by Seoul Art Space Sindang in 2020. 

Kyoung-Hye Han is a painter and the author of Prostration of Body (五體投地). She is based in Korea and received her MFA and Ph.D. in Oriental Painting from Hongik University in Seoul. She has participated in various solo and group exhibitions including at Insa Art Space and Gana Art Space in Korea, the Grand Palais in Paris, Gallery Kubota in Japan, and Villa Clerici in Milan, Italy. Recently, Han was selected as the 2020 artist by Le Salon and her works will be presented again in France.