These triangle sculptures are Park Honggu’s “Remaining” sculptures – made in his traditional style, spotted and blackened Korean Birch. The piece is finished in oil. The sculptures look like tall mountains. Do you have times of hardship and uncertainty? The mountains remind us to stay strong and steadfast. A beautiful homage to nature in the best way Park Honggu knows how: in wood.
Half Spotted "Remaining" Triangle Sculpture
Flat Bottom Half Charred Vessel
Master artist Park Honggu has been a woodworker for over half his life. His vessels are otherworldly – no machine is able to reproduce the delicate detail: the wavy edges and the kinks in the wood that have been shaved down to the exact right form. They perch on a svelte leg, and the bowl has a flat bottom. The artist uses a traditional Korean lacquer process called Ott-chil – using the all-natural sap of a Rhus tree (lacquer tree) that is renowned for its high quality. The artist has used a proprietary method to char half the bowl and meets an oil finish 3/4 of the way up the vessel. This is Park Honggu's signature. An heirloom to be passed down for generations.
Sweet Potato Jar
A stunning piece of masterful woodwork, this goguma jar (or, “sweet potato” jar for its elongated shape) is two pieces of wood joined together at the center. The top half of the goguma jar is from a Ginkgo Tree and was cut width-wise, while the bottom half is made from Pine Wood and was cut length-wise. The artist did this to get two different grain work patterns on one piece and additionally to prevent a naturally occurring crack from growing any further. He stamped his goguma jar on the bottom with a floral inlay from an abalone shell. He finished the piece with a cured lacquer 9 times (which takes weeks to do). It is one of his personal favorite works to date.
Oyster Shell Moon Jar
Kim Gyu was the pioneer who created the first wooden moon jar. Though it seems like an old-world relic, this artwork is actually the cross-section of modern ingenuity and informed technique. This incredible moon jar was turned and hand carved from Ginkgo wood – the oldest tree species in existence – and while it retains the heft and durability of lumber, the artist has painted it with a pure, white paste made from ground oyster shells to mimic the traditional ceramic moon jar. Kim Gyu has preserved the closeness to the earth, and the humility of nature, and demanded the respect it deserves through art. To be passed down for generations. 1 of 1.
The work reflects the various challenges I encounter in relationships, including communication gaps, the frustration of neglect, and my own struggles with compliance. Standards differ across individuals and even within myself, and these are elements beyond one's control. It's akin to holding a handful of sand, where the tighter one grips, the more it slips through the fingers. While the path of acceptance seems simple, resisting the urge to tighten one's grip becomes a personal challenge. This continuous cycle of making mistakes, attempting to rectify them, and inevitably falling into the trap of frustration from attempting control is subtly echoed in the canvas. The ambivalent emotions between self-doubt and self-protection are also referenced. This ongoing struggle between the dichotomy of releasing and restraining is captured within the canvas through recurring forms, the contrasts of thick paint layers and delicately trembling drawn lines, and the use of warm, muted colors through overlapping paint and stitching.
Seohui Chi is a Los Angeles-based illustrator, creating culturally-driven digital drawings with an emphasis in softer palettes and inspiration from watercolor. Chi’s signature style is drawn from her desire to preserve and capture aspects of Korean culture that she deems beautiful and distinctive. Often she seeks to incorporate traditional Korean elements into everyday, noticeable objects and landscapes. Her “SONYEO” series (translating to “girl” in Korean) explores the theme of youth and innocence; placing female figures adorned in modernized hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) in a contemporary setting. Her recent “HWAWON” series (translating to “flower garden” in Korean) is an expression of monthly flowers in the context of traditional Korean objects.
Artworks are available for purchase.
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The exhibition runs until January 2024, with a temporary break in November.