KOREAN CONTEMPORARY "OTT" PAINTING & CRAFT-ART
April 10 - May 9, 2003
Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center New York
(460 Park Ave. 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022)
For Immediate Release - Gallery Korea is pleased to announce the presentation of a new exhibition of contemporary lacquer paintings and objects. Called Ott in the Korean language, lacquer work is an ancient East Asian craft that is freshly rejuvenated in the work of the three artists in this exhibition. Sungsoo Kim will show a series of recent paintings, while Seol Kim and Hae Cho Chung will each show a selection of craft objects. The Korea Daily has organized this exhibition.
Sungsoo Kim’s paintings display a wide range of vibrant colors that he has developed through years of experimentation with innovative variations of mother-of-pearl finishes. His methods are derived from traditional Korean inlay techniques and incorporate metal strips, eggshell, and wood powder as well as mother-of-pearl; they result in flowing images with precise details. He has received many awards in Korea and has exhibited in China and Japan. He has lived in California since 1998 and is currently a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing.
Seol Kim and Hae Cho Chung are both distinguished professors in Korea who have sent over a selection of wooden objects and vessels embellished with mother-of-pearl lacquer finishes.
The production of lacquerware in East Asia has been dated back at least 9,000 years. Korean lacquerware in particular developed in terms of quality and sophistication during the K?ryo period, from AD 918 to 1392. Later improvements in lacquer manufacturing made lacquerware widely available for everyday use by middle-class Koreans.
The lacquer used in Ott painting is formulated by refining the sap of the lacquer tree (rhus verniciflua), which is native to central and southern China, Korea, and possibly Japan. The lacquer tree is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, which includes poison ivy and poison oak. Artists working with the material must first build up tolerance to its toxic effects.
Raw lacquer is a dull brownish black color; in order to create the many brilliant colors found in Ott painting and crafts, artists must add precise amounts of different mineral pigments. The lacquer must be painstakingly built up in layers and requires a specific temperature and humidity to dry and harden. A fine polishing then reveals flawless, shiny surfaces that can be carved or inlaid with various materials. Korea has a long tradition of producing exquisite inlaid lacquer and furniture and fine craftsmanship is evident in the extremely high quality of contemporary manufactured furniture and household objects.
In this exhibition a traditional art is transformed by contemporary innovation and expressively enriched with the personality of individual artists.