Kyoung Tack Hong | Doosan Gallery

by Liz on November 21, 2010

in Art & Design

Pen 6 (2010), Oil on Canvas

More inspiration and artistic perfectionism from South Korea, this time in the form of Kyoung Tack Hong’s obsessively chromatic and photorealistic depictions of color pencils. In his Pens series, no space is left untouched. Piles of pens are brought to semi-life, converging unidirectionally, inanimate objects that point dagger-like at more animate life forms. Butterflies and buttercups fill in small crevices in a crowded battlefield of endless pens, but for the most part try their best to blend into the dizzying scenery. It’s scene after scene of a surreal moment at your desk: could it be the contents of your drawer, or the bundle of odds and ends in your ceramic mug are actually not the lackluster junk that occupies personal space? In Hong’s world, pens seem to dominate space by announcing their sharp, pinpointed presence to the world.

This exhibit at Doosan Gallery New York was Hong’s first. There’s a blurb on Doosan’s website that states he’s an artist-in-residence in Doosan’s New York program, so it leaves me hoping there’ll be more Hong to come. Other series from Hong’s past played supporting roles in an adjacent room, including a gaudy pink homage to the artist formerly known as Prince, and a painting of a traditional Korean gisaeng, or courtesan, in a not-so-traditional setting.

Pen 3 (2000-2010), by the entry of Doosan Gallery. It's got some scale.

Details of Pen 3. I do love the colors.

Butterflies and buttercups join the fray.

More shocks of color to lose yourself in a wonderland of orange, green and purple.

Dream of Maewha (2008), Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

Fuck & Roll (2008). Prince would be flattered.



Chuck Close, Asian Art edition

by Liz on August 7, 2010

in Art & Design

Here’s one way to show your appreciation for Asian contemporary art: take a field trip to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC and take in the work of Chuck Close, an American artist who spearheaded the movement known as photorealism in the ’70s.

Seems like an odd way to connect with the vibrant Asian art scene, but Close’s immeasurable influence on two Asian artists, Kang Hyung Koo (Korea) and Zhang Huan (China), compels myself to rethink Asian contemporary art. Many Asian artists today train at fine arts schools in their home countries, where they near-mechanically hone their skills in the fundamentals of drawing and painting. They go onto create art that reflects their cultural heritage but using Western art techniques they learned at local universities or graduate schools in the West.

Kang Hyung Koo’s enormous canvases of famous faces in both real and imagined poses have an unforgettable depth that photographs cannot reproduce. There’s such great layers to each of his works, that when I just look at his paintings of Van Gogh, Hepburn or Monroe, I feel completely immersed in the body of the painter’s dimensions. The genealogical hand-me-down from Close is quite obvious.





Zhang Huan’s paintings most approximate to an homage to Close are his drawings/paintings created with ash from temples around Shanghai. In an interview with Close, Zhang points out the ash is not something you can actually buy or collect, because “the ash embodies all the dreams and wishes of all the people when they are offering their spirits.”

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration is on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from July 3 to September 12.