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LA-DC Exchange Exhibition: Same Way, Different Path

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents Same Way, Different Path, a new exhibition exploring the diversity of Korean American diaspora experiences through the creativity of eight women artists from the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. regions. While they share the experience of being immigrants from Korea, each artist expresses her own message inspired by the character of the American region in which they settled. 

Spanning a variety of artistic genres, including oriental painting, installation, sculpture, and visual art, this exhibition illustrates the journeys of talented Korean American women artists toward a new identity in the United States. Among the featured artists is Yumi Hogan, First Lady of Maryland. 

The exhibition launches with a public opening reception and in-person introductory talk by several featured artists on Friday, August 12 at 6:00 p.m. (RSVP below) and remains on view through September 1. Same Way, Different Path is an exchange exhibition presented in partnership with the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles, where a West coast opening reception will take place August 26. 

Same Way, Different Path
WHAT: Joint LA-DC exchange exhibition, artist talks, & public opening reception 
WHO:
LA Artists: Yun J Choi, Donghyun Chung, Hee Ouk Kim, Sunny Kim
DC Artist: Yumi Hogan, Sunhee Kim Jung, Jean Kim, Ju Yun
WHEN: Opening Reception: Friday, August 12 @ 6:00 p.m.
On View: August 12 – September 1 (M-F, 9 am-noon & 1:30-5:30 pm)
WHERE: Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. (2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW) 
HOW: Scroll down to RSVP. 

Artist Statements and Profiles – Los Angeles Region

Yun J Choi’s Circle of Life demonstrates the motif of freedom and flexibility while revealing the unconscious of the abyss and the flow of life. For Choi, creating art is a spiritual practice. This abstract set of works visualizes energy sources in a variety of formats (氣韻). It is dynamic, full of life, and full of energy, distinguished by her oriental aura and brush skill that reflect Korea. Her work is, ultimately, the pure process of painting, and is significant in terms of its healing and intellectual efforts to achieve a lasting peace, and to have tranquility reign over worldly passions.

Yun J Choi was born in Korea and received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School at Hongik University, M.A. from the Graduate School of New York University, M.F.A. from the Graduate School of Design Contents at Hongik University, and B.F.A. from the College Of Fine Arts at Hongik University, in Korea. She currently teaches at Hongik University’s College Of Fine Art. 


Donghyun Chung 
Since long ago, I find myself trying to trace a connection back to the women before me. With my grasp trembling I anxiously wonder if I am standing at the end of the line. Would I have the courage to face the countless spirits that have passed by me? I toil to caress the tearful endurance of the women who have gone by ahead of me. 

Hanji (Korean traditional Paper), the main and only medium of my work, bridges me to the many lives of over 1,000 years and calms my fretful anxiety. In search of the colors and shapes waiting to be discovered underneath, I have glued, mashed, torn, and scraped hanji in many layers of different colors. All this labor and toil allows me to travel to the past and comfort the many spirits there, along with my own.


Hee Ouk Kim’s paintings are inspired by people and their colorful backgrounds. The paintings mirror the multicultural mix of Los Angeles. The many faces, individually drawn, reflect different expressions—happiness, sadness, anger, joy, confusion, clarity, and so on. As Martin Wong, co-editor of Giant Robot wrote, “This process lends itself to the themes of innocence and understanding of one’s social roles in both public and private experience.”

Where tiny figures once populated the backgrounds of my work, they have now become the focus. Their awkward forms are deliberately depicted in a manner that appears narrative but serves to demonstrate a complex examination of human relationships. As Wong noted, “Neither devolving into abstraction nor relying on narrative, these paintings speak to the ambiguity of one’s identity and its relation to others’.”


Sunny Kim
During the last 10 years, I have titled all of my exhibitions Cosmic Dreams. I am drawn to images of the vast universe, the heavens and the meaning of what lies in the spiritual realm beyond the physical world we can see. My paintings may appear abstract at first; however, they are expressions of cosmic formations. Each canvas represents and symbolizes movements and colors of heavenly bodies and their celestial patterns in opposition—a state of both chaos and order.

Much like the universe, the acrylics in my Cosmic Dreams series reveal the process of their own unfolding, from formlessness to the structuring of matter on a galactic scale. I am fascinated by the power, energy, speed, and of course, the beauty of the universe. In my work, you will find a landscape of emotions on an incomprehensible scale, a kind of galactic perspective, a window into space beyond linear time for your mind to enter. Ideally your mind can contemplate the vastness of the cosmos, the countless unknowns, and out of that contemplation, make room for a little peace. My process reflects this intended effect in that I paint instinctually, grasping at images in my mind, until at last a feeling of peace has been rendered from the chaos. I often emulate drip techniques, not to radically break the rules of paint but to use the drippy, spotted formations of smaller areas of paint to convey a sense of a colorful universe filled with speeding meteors, blinking lights, moving planets, brilliant stars and celestial spheres seen from enormous distances.


Artist Statements and Profiles – Washington, D.C. Region

Ju Yun
My work uses rich layers of colors, yet inside the visual space of the picture, a line can exist absolutely as its own essence. To affirm the identity of my objects, I invite a void into the visual space. Inside the empty space the objects stop or pass; they struggle with each other or become engulfed in themselves; they boast or dally; they reach for the top or fade away. I place an emphasis on the natural and eloquent simplicity that dominates traditional Korean art forms. At the same time, my idiosyncratic approach and nod towards Western formalism is entirely modern in tone. I also create movement through conscious and deliberate color choices. My selection of subject matter is inspired by distinctive shapes of Korean glyphs and colors in nature. I paint all the brilliance and beauty found in life and nature, which establishes a sense of movement. An awareness of abstract design along with bright and bold colors is a part of this process.


Sunhee Kim Jung 
I create Korean rice paper strands twisted into long ropes, depicting the long journey we weave through life. There are many different patterns resembling the different patterns of life. Everyone’s style and length of life are different. Everyone goes through different hardships and struggles. Have you ever wondered about your life journey? What would it look like? How twisted would your life line be and where would it end up? The construction of the rope was laborious. With each twist and turn I was reminded of my trials and tribulations, my joy and accomplishments.


Jean Kim
My work is a personal reflection on harmonizing the contradictory elements I have witnessed, experienced, and worked with throughout my life’s journey. After moving to the United States from South Korea, a clash of cultures dominated my life, and I confronted the challenge of balancing my Korean cultural heritage with the customs of my new adopted home. As I grew older, this cultural confrontation became less acute and eventually grew into a diversely enriched, harmonious existence. Today, I consider myself a Korean-American and my work reflects both aspects of my background.


Yumi Hogan
This work is my interpretation and abstract vision of the harmony of nature. We human beings are part of nature, just like cool breezes, trees, and flowing water. I feel this existence within the meaning of nature through the freedom of movement and unstructured imagery. All of our lives are connected in this way. 

Some of my works also depict the sudden changes in my life that have affected my being and my art. After my husband was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and my friends diagnosed with breast cancer, I began to use green lines for lymphoma and pink lines for breast cancer. This was to represent those around me who have a great effect on me. By nature’s terms, it emphasizes the wispy curves of a breeze, with its ups and downs—a characteristic that portrays the unpredictable path of human life and of nature. My life, too, has been drastically pulled at its corner with the diagnoses of my husband and friends. It was the calm before the storm hit. It is my intent to make people feel and understand the unpredictable breath of nature through my works.