Jiyoung Chung’s last solo exhibition at the ArtXchange gallery, Between and inside, presents a rich collection of new works that reinterprets the traditional craftsmanship of joomchi, the Korean tradition of making felt by hand hanji paper (mulberry) in hand, as a vessel of exploration between nature and humanity, and the intricate nuances that exist within these relationships.
The awe-inspiring works on display range from small 8 x 6-inch pieces to large 68 x 30-inch wall tapestries – featuring highly textured, almost sculptural, even surfaces. From small, rolling hills to tension-riddled taut threads and delicate, airy overlays, these dimensional works showcase both Chung’s ability to manipulate mulberry paper and the material’s potential for expansion. His painstaking process of transforming the material with greedy hands, determination and patience results in beautifully delicate yet sturdy creations. Mounted on floats on the white gallery walls, the larger rooms cast mysteriously playful shadows that float gently as you walk past – like a net, projected with its many layers in the hopes of collecting stories and conversations. its scope.
The depth created in each room invites the viewer to examine the other dimensions that lie ahead – a microcosm of diverse textures, layers and patterns that are like worlds in themselves. These varied landscapes are reminiscent of the changing seasons, from the rich reds and oranges of autumn to the cold whites of winter and the cool blues of fresh water. Each work Chung produces is like a visual narrative rooted in a specific time and place, a tactile poem filled with curiosity and wonder.
The eye dances from corner to corner – trying to make sense of the layers of meticulously crafted material and the tension between being contained and being expansive. Chung’s work is a choreography of opposites – vibrant and deaf, fragile and strong, bold and elegant. While some pieces exude a dense, sleepy mind, others encompass more engaging energy. But, through these opposing characteristics, connections can be found and nurtured. The works visually express a range of emotions – the strength to hold on, the resilience to maintain bonds, the sadness of feeling empty and the recognition of the gaps and spaces that need to be rebuilt.
Chung’s contemporary approach joomchi has elevated material and craftsmanship in new and exciting ways, and this series demonstrates the wide range it has.
Between and Inside: Jiyoung Chung’s new works are currently on display until November 20 at the ArtXchange Gallery, located at 512 1st Avenue S, Seattle, WA, 98104. For more information, visit www.artxchange.org or call 206-839-0377.
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