Sandra Lee Gallery presents works by two of Korea’s most prominent artists in “Reshaped Traditions: New American Painting.” Their artwork subject matter aligns with the traditions of Korean painting, while concurrently pushing the genre forward with their avant-garde experimentation in material, and approach. Jeung Kang, a female artist working within the United States since her MFA at the University of Iowa, and Monk Jungsan Senim at first glance are very different artists from disparate perspectives and life experiences, yet together as artists they share an interest to create a new identity for their shared tradition in the contemporary world.
Artist Jeung Kang’s Hanbok series examines the role of womanhood within a culturally shifting environment – where stalwart traditions are replaced by somewhat fluctuating modern values. In her paintings she explores that emotionally conflicting path in the search for personal identity while balancing societal expectations.
Korean Monk Jungsan Senim’s large scale installations are called Manicure Paintings because the employ the tools of a manicure set and nail polish. Initially with this installation, Senim sought to comment how Buddhist instruction clashed with human nature; nail polish seemed like a perfect tool to symbolize decadence and excess. As the work progressed, he found the medium demanded a steady, restrained hand which offered moments of deep meditation. With smaller brushes and tools, his works became meticulous but harbored copious possibilities. This discovery is the central impetus of the of works in the gallery, where vast minimalist abstractions are composed of thousands of intricate hand-painted matchboxes.
“Reshaped Traditions: New Korean Painting” is at Sandra Lee Gallery until January 28, 2012