"East-Here & Neo-Latino"

September 9 - 30, 2005

Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center New York
(460 Park Ave. 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022)

Opening reception:September 9, 6-8 pm

Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service will present a cross-cultural exhibition entitled "EAST-HERE & NEO-LATINO," featuring eight Asian 'East-Here' artists and eight Hispanic 'Neo-Latino' artists. 
'East-Here' and the Neo-Latinos represent two emerging 21st century global art movements that have arisen in the New York metropolitan area, during the first decade of the 21st Century. The 'East-Here' artist group emanated in the winter of 2004 in Union City, New Jersey, founded by the Korean painter Yun H. Yi. The East-Here is an amalgam of Asian artists from various "Pacific Rim" nations, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc. The Neo-Latinos are a visual arts group founded in 2003 by Puerto-Rican American printmaker and installation artist Olga Cruz, as a way to address artistic and aesthetic changes that are affecting 21st Century Hispanic culture and art in northern New Jersey, as well as nationally. The Neo-Latinos include Hispanic artists from Cuba, Puerto-Rico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, and other Latin American nations. 

This unique transcultural exhibition reveals growing cross-cultural aesthetic awareness as well as cultural solidarity between 21st Century Asian artists and Hispanic artists. Among those Neo-Latinos participating are two NJCU art faculty, Assistant Professor Hugo Xavier Bastidas and Professor Jose Rodeiro, as well as four undergraduate alumni from that institution, including William Coronado, Rainiel Guzman, Leandro Carlos Flaherty, and Jason Rivera, and graduate alumni Raul Villarreal, along with a current MFA candidate Olga Cruz. Among the artists within Yun H. Yi's 'East-Here' group are the Taiwanese painter Wei-Jane Chir; the Korean installation artist Boo-Yun Choi; the Korean painter and installation artist Hee Soo Kim; the Japanese sculptor Daisake Kiyomiya, the Japanese painter Tomomi Ono, and the Korean-American painter Soonnam Kim Singer, as well as Korean artist Chunsoo Park. 

Among the East-Here group there is deep-rooted love of nature, which is evident in their art. For example Hee Soo Kim's artworks and found-object assemblages are inspired by natural beauty, urban flea-markets, as well as the metropolitan streets. Ultimately, Hee Soo Kim enjoys exploring nature's sublime and untamed magnificence, as well as having a deep appreciation for urban beauty. Another artist with a strong affinity for nature is Chunsoo Park. By arbitrarily repeating stain-marks along rectangular-grids, Park is creating a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness, which longs for greater stillness. A fascination with abstraction haunts the Orphistic color-imagery of Soonnam Kim Singer. Her art uses abstraction to capture reveries of her Sanchung childhood home, which stands below Korea's Jiri Mountain's peaks. 

Another exhibitor is the Taiwanese painter and an award winning documentary filmmaker Wei Jane Chir, who graduated from the University of Art Berlin with an MFA. Rounding-out the exhibition are the following East-Here artists: the skilled and clever Korean installation artist Boo-Yun Choi; the brilliant Japanese sculptor Daisake Kiyomiya, the superb Japanese painter and printmaker Tomomi Ono. 

The founder and leader of the East-Here group is Yun H. Yi, a gifted South Koren artist, who paints using an informalist abstract expressionistic language. Ultimately, his art is about the sensuality of the painting surface. In terms of contemporary visual art, Yi is passionate about visceral painterliness, which employs rich color(s), textures and sensate surface-awareness. His art is a perfect blending of mental clarity and hyper-emotive feeling, two qualities that are considered rare among most Western contemporary artists.

Since their inauguration in 2003, the Neo-Latinos have exhibited in a half dozen metropolitan-area group-shows, gaining attention for their innovative artworks. For example, Dominican-American artist Will Coronado's vibrant and whimsical street scenes are intrinsically about visual perception as a metaphor for situations that are psychological, apathetic, and haunting. His "Societal Transmogrification Series" 
ironically uses high-tech tools to questions current dehumanization and alienation wrought by the stress of hyper-intrusive digital technology. While Cuban-American painter and printmaker Raul Villarreal's art focuses on Latina(o) identity, cultural hybridization (syncretism), and transculturalism, achieving these ends through a juxtapositionof folkloric and Neo-Pop methods. In all respects, Villarreal's art masterfully exemplifies 21st Century transcultural aesthetics. 

In this aesthetic light, the Argentinean-American Leandro Flaherty's remarkable Neo-Pop images from his "All Grafts Laid Bare Series" undermine traditional pop agendas, by converting commercial images into transcendent symbols of nature. While Olga Cruz's neo-pop installations and prints explore contemporary women's issues, especially pertaining to female identity. Her remarkable and elegant bra installations and subtle prints ironically use sheer beauty to address serious sociological, medical, and aesthetic concerns. 

Through a monochromatic journalistic method, the renowned Ecuadorian-American artist Hugo Xavier Bastidas depicts ironic metaphysical post-historic narratives that allegorically consider current cultural malaise and environmental destruction. His monochrome images always have something secretive and surprising. The Cuban-American art historian and painter Dr. Jose Rodeiro (NJCU's Coordinator of Art History) is a recipient of a Visual Artist Fellowship in painting from the National Endowment for the Arts; he is known for his visually vivacious, distinctly poetic, and colorful images. 

The Dominican-American painter Rainiel Guzman pursues two unique and colorful styles, portraying standard national flags as well as state flags through either poetic neo-minimal pop art methods or by means of neo-surreal visual puns. Puerto-Rican American artist and musician Jason Rivera's filters appropriated stills from films, reinterpreting and recontextualizing these acquired-images as film noir tableaus. 

The "EAST-HERE & NEO-LATINOS"show will run from Friday, September 9 until September 30 within Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service NY, 6th Floor, 460 Park Avenue, New York. On Friday, September 9, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, there will be a reception and refreshments. Gallery Korea's hours are 10 AM - 7 PM Monday through Friday, and 10 AM until 4 PM on Saturday. For further information contact the Gallery Korea(curator Ms Yujin Hwang at (212)759-9550 or <nyarts@koreanculture.org>) visit the www. koreanculture.org

Miro Yoon