Contemporary Artists Show Individuality

Contemporary Artists Show Individuality
[코리아타임스 2006-07-28 17:03]

Contemporary art is an all-encompassing term that covers any art being done now, whether its painting, installation art or photographs. Most galleries nowadays are eager to show off artworks by young and upcoming artists.
Gallery Kong, located in Chongno, Seoul, is now holding “Korean Contemporary Artists 5,” an exhibition of the work of five young contemporary Korean artists.
Gallery Kong President Grace Kong told The Korea Times that the five artists all embody the “Korean spirit.” The artists have worked in Korea and have been featured in galleries in New York, Paris and Switzerland.
The most well-known artist in the exhibit is photographer Kim Jung-man. Kim, who is famous for his portraits of celebrities, shows a different side with somber black and white photographs.
One of the photographs is a shot of a deserted, somewhat desolate, beach at Palm Beach in Los Angeles. Another is a striking photograph of a Korean woman walking along a tree-lined road.
Rising young artist Min Jeong-yeon, who at 27 is already making waves in Europe, is also featured at the exhibit. Kong said Min has attracted a lot of attention from European art galleries, and is set to hold an exhibit in Germany and New York later this year.
Min’s painting “Upside down town, woman on bicycle,” shows a woman on a bicycle amid a rain of garlic cloves. This image refers to the Korean myth in which a bear ate garlic and was transformed into a man.
Another painting is “Silk worms cocoons,” in which Min uses the image of a cocoon to show the theme of transformation. “As a woman, she feels a lot of social pressure in Korean society, and this shows in her artwork. She wants to be something else,” Kong said.
Kim Soo-kang’s works are unique. At first glance, you think it’s a chalk drawing but it is actually a photograph. Making use of the “gum print” technique, the photographs take two to three days to develop.
Kim likes to elevate ordinary every day objects into works of art. In her series of photos “White Vessel,” Kim takes photos of ordinary objects she uses at home such as a rice bowl, teacups and plates. For another series, she took photos of different kinds of pojagi, the traditional Korean wrapping cloth.
Park Hyun-joo takes a more spiritual theme in her art. In “Inner light,” she reinterprets traditional Christian religious images by mounting several wooden boxes on the wall. The boxes are painted with colorful stripes on the front, but gold on the top and sides. When light hits the gold portion of the box, a soft light similar to the glow around saints and holy figures is cast on the wall.
Jeong Heon-jo’s monoprints combine embossing and drawings on a stark white background. His work shows an otherworldly image with a distinctly Asian spirit.