November 1, 2011 – February 19, 2012
2 Columbus Circle
Admission: $15; Students $12; Pay-What-You-Wish admission Thursday nights 6-9pm
The so-called Korean Wave, the idea that was termed in the late 1990s referring to the growing international popularity of Korean culture (mainly K-pop and soap operas), continues to surge. Beyond the popularity and influence of fashion, food and a quickly evolving and exciting capital city of Seoul, the wave has extended out and into the art world, so much so that the Museum of Arts and Design was able to put together an exhibit of 21 emerging and established Korean artists in a show called “Korean Eye: Energy and Matter.”
Featuring artists of differing disciplines–sculpture, photography, embroidery–the show feels somewhat segmented due to the various media, but both the creative use of unexpected materials like tires or soap and the subtle influence of each artist’s culture into their works make for an engaging display. Of note is Shin Mee Kyoung’s “Translation Series” (2009) which consists of five urns, styled in ancient shape and porcelain design. The bright colors of a deep red, sunflower yellow and blue, all under a varnish, cleverly mask that these beautiful vases are not made of a fragile porcelain, rather soap. Shin’s modern take on a traditional and old craft creates a different experience and appreciation to such a delicate object. Speaking of modern interpretations, Lee Leenam’s 21st century answer to traditional wall paintings is brought to life in “Ming and Chung Dynasty Paintings” (2010). Using five LED screens, the subtle scenic transformation through the four seasons within the paintings is quite beautiful. Seamlessly combining the old style painting with video photography of snow and running water, it almost feels as if the viewer is looking through the window to see the ancient Korean countryside.
Perhaps most striking is the large format embroidered painting titled “Procession” (2010) by Hong Young In. Melding together statuesque images in a fantasy landscape, the tapestry’s impeccably crafted with acrylic paint and cotton fabric possesses a majestic presence within the exhibit.
Image courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design